Friday, September 17, 2010

The Viewing and Funeral

Sunday afternoon we spent a long time making phone calls to my dad's closest friends informing them of his passing. It was extremely hard calling friends that he loved and loved him so dearly. They were all so sad to hear the news.

It seemed like Sunday was just a blur after we got home from the hospital. We immediately went to work preparing the Life Sketch, Obituary, funeral program, and collecting pictures for a slide show. There was just so much to do. Luckily there are enough children in the family that we were able to divide and conquer. I had the task of scanning pictures and collecting pictures to give to the funeral home so that they could put together a slide show. I was not alone on this task, I had help from several brothers and sisters. We also had to come up with 4 songs to be put to the slide show.

It was amazing to see people showing up with food, flowers, kind words, and more food and still more food. The kindness just washed in. My Aunt Janet showed up Monday morning in a pickup with her daughter Tammy and daughter-in-law Melanie. They backed the pickup in the driveway and it was ENTIRELY full of food. Aunt Janet, her children, Uncle Heber & Carolyn and children, purchased enough food to feed an army. I just sat and cried when I saw their kindness. My mom had been in the hospital so much the last couple of months that there just wasn't much food in the house. It was just simply amazing. I still tear up when I think about it.

One sweet lady in my parents ward spent the entire day baking cinnamon bread. She wanted each child to have a loaf and then some. I believe she made 15+ loaves for us. The counter tops were full of cakes, cookies, lasagna, rolls, fruit, vegetables, the list goes on and on.

Monday morning several of my siblings and mom went to the funeral home to pick out a casket and go through all the details. The funeral home is the same funeral home that helped with my brothers funeral 28 years ago. They are wonderful people and also close friends. One of the funeral directors is a close personal friend to my brother Curtis. His name is Brian, and they went to school together. Brian spent a lot of time at my parents house over the years. My mom would frequently give him haircuts and feed him. As Brian, my mom, and siblings were going over the itemized bill they noticed that at the bottom it read---"Pancake and Haircut discount" with a large dollar amount next to it. My mom jumped up from the table and ran around and hugged Brian. I thought that was so sweet.

We spent Monday evening at the church setting up several display tables for the viewing. We decided not to have the viewing at the funeral home due to the number of people that would be attending. I am certainly glad that we did it that way. Woods Funeral home also set up 2 different locations, in the church, for a slide show. We knew that people would be waiting in line for a long time and we wanted to make it as comfortable as possible for them. It was a lot of hard work, but I know that people really enjoyed looking at everything.

Tuesday morning we went to the funeral home to see dad dressed in his temple clothes. I wasn't expecting dad to look as good as he did. I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever quite seen someone look so good after passing away. His coloring was so good, I would have thought that he was sleeping---only he wasn't snoring like he normally would be. It was a very peaceful time at the funeral home.

We were asked to be at the church 1 hour early for the viewing. We got there and people were already lining up for the viewing. The viewing was supposed to go from 6-9. I think we set the record for the longest viewing in Woods Funeral history. The viewing started at 5:00 p.m. and went until just after 11:00 p.m.. We stood in line for just over 6 hours. Most people waited in line for 2 1/2hours to get in. What a tribute to my dear sweet dad. When we apologized to people for the long wait in line, they simply said, "I would have waited longer. I wouldn't have missed it". I remember one lady in line saying, "...when your dad got to heaven, I'm sure that they rolled out the red carpet for him." I loved that comment. I got home around 11:45 the house was quiet, and of course, I couldn't fall asleep.

We had to be to the church at 8:30. Once again people showed up early for the viewing. We stood in line for the viewing until 20 minutes to 11:00. At that time, the funeral director had us go down the halls of the church and shake all the people's hands that were still in line. There were so many kind words spoken.

Elder L. Tom Perry, from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was one of the speakers at the funeral. When he came in the Relief Society Room and shook our hands, and hugged my mom, tears just started to flow. What a sweet man to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to come and speak, and offer kind words of support. My parents got to know Elder Perry when he stayed in their home during Stake Conference and when he set them apart as Mission Presidents. They had a mutual love and respect for each other.

As we had the family prayer and said our goodbyes to my dad, I just had a huge break down. I completely could not control my emotions. I had a good, hard, LOUD, cry--frankly it was a little embarrassing. But, I just couldn't help myself.

The funeral went as follows:

Vocal Chorus-------------Sons and Sons-in-Law -
"Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy"

Life Sketch--------------Janet Orchard (Sister), Lori Murdoch (Daughter)

Speaker------------------Heber Andrus

Vocal Chorus-------------Andrus Daughters -
"Beautiful Savior"

Speaker------------------President Howard Stewart

Vocal Chorus-------------Las Vegas West Missionaries

Speaker------------------Elder L. Tom Perry

Vocal Chorus-------------Andrus Family -
"In a Coming Day"

When the funeral ended and the family was standing to leave, my aunt started playing "Called to Serve" on the organ.  The missionaries on the stand started singing along, very softly and reverently.  Soon, the congregation spontaneously joining in.  They sang all three verses of the song and finished with "God be with you till we meet again."


J and J said...

Such a beautiful slide show! Sounds like a very special and memorable moment for you and yours. May you feel him watching over you every day!

Erin said...

Great slide show Heidi. Thanks for sharing.

The Woods said...

Amazing! Love you guys!

Brian Wood

JK said...

Hi Heidi. You don't know me. I grew up in your dad's stake and ward, he was my stake president when I got interviewed for my wedding. My parents are Brian and Barbara Higgs, if you know them. Anyway, thanks for this review. He was one of the most amazing men I have ever known. Such a great example to me and my husband and we are so grateful to have known him. We only hope that we can be as good as he was. I send prayers to you, your family, and your beautiful mother at this time.
Jaimie Krupp
PS--sorry to barge in on your blog. I love blogs. :)

Peterson Pack of Wild Dogs said...

I could not help but just cry reading this post. The time I lose my dad, I hope I will be as you have been. Such an amazing example Heidi. What a wonderful job you have done.