It's been 7 months since I blogged!! I can't believe it. But more so, I can't believe I'm blogging now. I just don't have the time. I am sooooo busy home schooling. And I spent the summer just in a daze over the loss of my dad and the changes that came with that.
Anyways, I thought I would post the talk that I gave at my dad's funeral and then try to catch up with just a few pictures from spring, summer, and fall so far. Let's see if I do it!! I promised my sister Cindy some pictures.
Here is my talk:
As much as I am truly heartbroken to have lost my daddy, today I want to celebrate his wonderful life! I want to pay tribute to the kindest, friendliest, and most loving and generous man I know. I want to thank my Heavenly Father for giving me the best daddy in the whole world! And I want to thank Heavenly Father for the blessing of eternal families-- for the sealing power that binds my family together for eternity if we prove worthy. And I am SO THANKFUL to my Savior that He made it possible that we will all resurrect, and that I KNOW I will see my daddy again.
What a wonderful man my father is! As many of you know, I've lived with my him for the past 6 years. I am so happy and proud of how he spent his time and how he lived his life during his time on earth. Just in the time I've lived with him most recently, he diligently served as a bishop of a Spanish-speaking singles ward for three years. I know he was beloved by his ward of young single adults. He attended all their activities and genuinely enjoyed them. He then became a high councilman and I watched him go to his various early meetings and saw him go to give the many talks he was assigned to give.
I was fortunate to be with him all the way until the very end. I am happy to report that his last week was spent doing the things he loved, eating out and socializing, and serving. I'm not positive about everything he did in his last week, but I'm so glad to know that he got to eat at Porto's in Glendale and get a "ropa vieja" sandwich which is a really yummy shredded beef sandwich. As we all know, my daddy LOVED to eat! He had brought his food home, and I remember smelling the sandwich, and saying "that smells good!" and then he tore off a little piece and gave it to me! That was him, always sharing. He then said that he had gotten 4 potato balls which are little rolled balls of shepherd's pie, and he said-- "since I've already had the sandwich, why don't you and your girls have these?" I tried to say no, but he generously insisted. This was the kind of man my daddy was, always sharing, even off his own plate!
During his last week, he helped ME a lot-- I didn't usually want him to watch my three daughters that are 9, 7, and 3, because he usually allowed them to destroy the house! But I had a birthday party to get ready for and many things to do. On Wednesday, he watched my kids for several hours while I did my errands. Then on Thursday, he again watched my girls while I went to prepare for a Relief Society Dinner at the ward since my husband was working late. He NEVER hesitated to help me when I asked even if he had to change his plans. When my husband came home that night, my dad got to eat his last meal at his very favorite restaurant, "El Sombrero." I'm so glad he got to enjoy a meal at his favorite place!
He spent his last couple of days very active. I know he went to a church activity on Friday night and another on Saturday afternoon. He's a social butterfly and I know he loved being out, talking with his friends and eating.
On Sunday morning, he got up early and made it to his high council meeting. He then stayed at the Arroyo ward meeting because he is the liaison over that ward and they were having a bishopric change. He then went to his own branch, El Sereno. At least three people told me that they got to talk with him that afternoon. I think he stayed until around 4pm.
When he came home, he broke his fast, had some lunch and we all got to talk a little. He told me about his day, asked about mine and my girls got to spend time with him. He and my oldest love to read the comics together. He seemed happy as usual. I never would have dreamed it was his last day, he seemed perfectly fine.
He then went into his room and called a friend and they talked for a while. At around 9:30, he started to breathe very hard and I could hear it from a distance. I went to check on him asked him if he was in pain, but he said no, he just needed to "catch his breath." I became worried and even told him I wanted to take him to the hospital and he said adamantly that he was not going to the hospital! He was pretty calm. But then the hard breathing became harder until he laid down and soon slipped into unconsciousness. He had, I believe, a relatively pain-free heart-attack.
I share these last moments, because I want to tell you that it was EXTREMELY hard and scary to watch my wonderful daddy pass on. I wasn't ready, I still am not. And in a moment like that, you feel DESPERATE! But it is in a moment like that that you truly realize what the VERY MOST IMPORTANT THINGS ARE. That the two most precious, wonderful gifts we've been given are:
1. the gift of the resurrection
2. the power of sealing that binds families together forever.
I already knew this,
watching my dad slip away made me DESPERATE to have him back. It was all I wanted!!
And it made me realize that nothing else in the whole world matters more than being with your family. I realized even more fully how blessed I am to have the knowledge of the gospel, the knowledge of the resurrection, the knowledge that I WILL see my wonderful daddy again and that we are sealed in the temple as a family. I realize that there is nothing more important than being sealed. I am so grateful that my parents were sealed in the temple for time and all eternity, I want to shout "Hallelujah" about it! I know I will see my mommy and my daddy again. What a comforting knowledge.
I got to sit with my beautiful daddy's body for a couple hours that night. I feel like I was allowed to envision him reuniting with my mom, and then his own mom, and then his little brother who died at only 8 in 1942 when my dad was 10. I then imagined uncles, aunts and other family members welcoming him home, even his dad who was not a big part of his life.
As I caressed his still-warm body and hands, I reviewed all my favorite moments of my life with my dad--
I remembered the way he used to hold me when I was very little, how tall he was! And how high I felt and he would pat my back and I would pat his.
I remembered how he let me sneak into his and my mom's bed when I had a bad dream. There is no greater sense of security that I have ever felt in my life than to sleep on my dad's big strong arm as a child. I knew that absolutely nothing could hurt me there. To this day, I've not felt a better feeling.
I remembered the time when I had the chicken pox and he bought me three new books and he read all three of them to me. I loved getting his that special treatment.
I remembered how every morning when he would leave for work, or when he'd drop us off at seminary, he always had a kiss for us. When he got home from work, he again gave us each a kiss, and then at bedtime, we'd get our goodnight kiss. It was wonderful having an affectionate and loving daddy!
I also sadly reviewed my not-so-favorite moments, more recent moments, when we got on each other's nerves living together and I wasn't as patient as I should have been. But I also remembered how forgiving he was. That every time I did get impatient, he always accepted my apologies and we would always kiss and hug and make up. He quickly would forget and move on. I am so grateful that he was always quick to forgive and I know he forgives me for my shortcomings. I'm so grateful for the atonement that allows us to repent.
My favorite story about my dad is when I was already in my 20's and we were going to Olvera St. for dinner. As we were getting off the freeway, we saw a man with a sign that said "Hungry." We went to go park and when we got out of the car my dad said he wanted to take this man some money. My dad started to walk a couple blocks down and if you can believe it, the man with the sign started to walk away! He didn't know my dad was coming! If you can believe it, my dad CHASED this man so he could give him some money. When my dad came back he said to me with tears in his eyes "aren't we all beggars?" the scripture from Mosiah 4. What an amazing man.
I want to tell you daddy, that I have the utmost respect and admiration for you. It is an honor to be your daughter. It was an honor to live with you these past few years and to help you when you needed it. Thank you for being steadfast, for being a perfect example of kindness, generosity, friendliness and love. I love you with all my heart and soul and anxiously await the day that we are all reunited as a family. I miss you and I will miss you every day until then. I'm so glad you are with mom.
I bear my testimony that I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I know that through Him we can return to live with our Heavenly Father. I know that through Him we will all resurrect and if we take advantage of the blessings of the Temple, our families can be together forever.