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  • Writer's pictureScott Wittig

What Will They Say When You Go?

It’s one of those things you can’t keep from happening; people talking about you when your number is called. An important thing to remember, though, is the fact that you have an awful lot of control NOW over what they will say THEN.


Hopefully, my father is pleased with what I had to say about him after he left us a year ago today:

“I am a paid speaker, but don’t have high expectations today.  Today I’m being paid with love, I suppose.

Thank you all for being here today.  We are all very humbled at the number of people who are here.

I want you all to know why we’re here.  Well, I guess it’s kind of obvious why were here…but why we’re here-here….like in these woods, here.

A little over two months ago, we helped bury Ella Newmiller, a sweet little girl very close to our family, right over there.  It was an incredible day that really moved everyone who was here.  When I described the day to my dad, he was really moved.  I had told him how we were asked to wear pink shirts that day and, when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday a few days later, I told him that I knew I was going to be giving a lot of speeches that included the story of that day so I would need at least one more pink shirt.  Well, here’s the pink shirt!  I guess it’s no surprise that I ended up exchanging the striped one he bought me for this plaid one – here I am wearing the perfect shirt….a pink one to honor Ella and a plaid one to honor dad.

On Monday, when dad was in the hospital, we had the opportunity to discuss his wishes and his will.  We did not know that he was going to pass, but the doctor had come in and had a very frank conversation with us about the fact that this was really serious and that it was very possible that it could happen, so the door was open to us having some of those tough conversations.  At one point I said, pretty assumptively, “You want to be cremated – where do you want to be buried?”  Much to our surprise he said, “Ella.  The way Ella was buried – I want that.  The natural burial.”

Ella’s life and passing has already influenced me to write and speak….and now she has shown my father the way to his final resting place.  Ella’s parents had the kindness and fortitude to come here today – thank you.

Have you ever used humor to brighten someone’s day because you could tell they could use it?

Have you ever given a complete stranger a hug because you saw they were upset?

Have you ever helped an old lady with her groceries?

I did all of those things…..THIS WEEK……..because of my dad.  He did those things all the time and I’m thankful he passed those gifts on to me.

The last thing I said to him on Sunday night, while he was still with us, was “I love you.”  The last thing I said to him on Monday morning, after he was gone, was “Thank you for being my dad.”

We are all better for knowing my dad. “

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