Daddy’s Girl for Larry Wills

Good afternoon everyone, thank you for being here for Dad.

Preface: I read Dad the first draft of this while he was in the hospital.  That morning when I came in and said Hi Daddy his face twitched right where his loving smile used to be.  I haven’t been to many funerals but I wanted to read to him what I would read at his since it seems a shame to say how great a person and how much you love them if you didn’t tell them first.

How can you say goodbye to your best friend, your father, the first man you ever loved?  How can you be strong with a baby growing inside you knowing they won’t get to meet their grandfather and he won’t get to hold them.  There is no doubt that I will talk about you as often as possible to both my girls.  The way you talked about your parents to both of your girls.  But I will hear “We’re going to have a baby, we’re going to have a baby!” echo in my mind whenever anyone is pregnant.  Going to say “We didn’t know we couldn’t do it” when we go on a hard road trip that seemed easy.  I won’t be able to use “tissues” without crying which I guess its ok since I can use them.

I am incredibly sad because I didn’t think I would have to miss you so soon.  I never even thought about the possibility because it hurt me too much.  But I know for certain you would never have wanted to hurt your girls.  You went to incredible lengths to make sure we were always well provided for and happy.  This is why we are so upset because of the amazing and great man, father and husband you are.

You have always been there for me with encouraging every professional choice in high school I brought up from acting, being an FBI agent, and being a pilot.  The first made me anxious and the last two made mom anxious.  Though following in your mother, Grandma Midge and mom’s dad Grandpa Jim’s footsteps in accounting was a better choice and one you have always supported.

Thank you for letting me tag along on your and Mom’s vacations to Vegas and Hawaii when I was single in my 20’s.  I cherish those memories more than I can say.  We would go to dinner when I came in town- the only and the two babies.  You would pay for tickets to movies, Great America, wine tours, ski trips for my friends and me so that we could share the experiences together.  You have created memories for so many people that branch out from me and Liz.

You would throw out phrases that made it seem like you doubted how great a father you were but there could have been no one better for Liz and I.  We are feeling so lost because no one can replace what you were to us.  A confidant, a co-worker, a debator, an explainer, an informer, a storyteller, an example, a joker,  a Daddy.

I am pretty sure on our morning calls and talks every morning since I could talk like 35 years, I told you that I love you.  But no6w I wish i had told you more, which is silly. In the Emergency Room I kept telling you I loved you when you would focus on me and after a few I love you in responses you responded “I know”.  No matter how simple or profound you always knew the right thing to say.

I will take care of Mom and Liz the same way they will take care of me.  We will be heartbroken for a long time but know that you never disappointed us or broke our heart on purpose.  You were the reason our hearts were always full.

Mom was telling me that everything in the house reminds her of you and that is a beautiful thing.  Your love for each other was never held back was always visible and amazing. You traveled the world together and ate at nice restaurants.  You lived the way that you wanted and didn’t hold back or wait till later.  Your story is a story of true love.

We will only miss you in sadness because all the shared memories and stories bring smiles and laughter.  We will retell all your jokes and all of your stories, we will continue on your legacy through your grandchildren.

We have decided to share the honor of Lexi’s name with you and another amazing Grandpa, Austin’s Grandpa Leon.  The first two letters of her name are the first two letters of your initials, L.E. Lawrence Edward.

A week later this still seems surreal that he is gone.  I feel like the best movie I ever watched has ended.  Watching videos and going through pictures the last few days reinforces my unending love I will always feel for this extraordinary man.  The days following his death were beautiful sunny days.  The kind he loved not too hot, just right to go to the lake, so we went swimming.  He wouldn’t have wanted us to be sad and he never liked to see us sad.  He would always try to solve our problem or find alternatives to ease our anxiety.  So I am trying to find alternatives I will honor him by living my life as fully as possible.  Loving my family to the depth of my soul daily, and paying forward every action for my daughters that I hold dear from my life that he gave so freely.

I envision 17 year old Larry smiling at all of his loved ones and those whose lives he touched.  That was always how he said he thought of himself as a 17 year old lifeguard.  Always young at heart.

I love you Daddy, rest easy.

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