S- Testing 1, 2. Testing. Okay good it’s working. I was afraid if it didn’t work, we wouldn’t have someone to fix it. As some of you may or may not know, our Dad was always the sound technician for the church when he could spare the time between work and opening up new shoe stores.
M- Speaking of new stores and in true Larry Kennedy we have a joke for you.
A new business was opening and one of the owner's friends wanted to send him flowers for the occasion. They arrived at the new business site and the owner read the card, "Rest in Peace."
The owner was angry and called the to complain.
After he had told the florist of the obvious mistake and how angry he was, the florist replied, "Sir, I'm really sorry for the mistake, but rather than getting angry, you should imagine this: somewhere there is a funeral taking place today, and they have flowers with a note saying, 'Congratulations on your new location.'”
M- It’s never easy knowing what to say at a funeral. Especially when that funeral is for your Dad. I’m 22. Stevie’s 24. We weren’t supposed to lose our Dad yet. To us he was invincible. Our own personal superhero. And standing in front of all his friends and family talking about how great he was, past tense, it’s not easy. I’m a Daddy’s girl, always have been, so to be at the church at a young age for anything other than mass or, oh I don’t know…my wedding, honestly just sucks. But Dad always was the best optimist out there and he wouldn’t want us to be sad or negative for too long.
Stevie and I were looking at photos and videos of Dad earlier this week and I will never be more thankful for his need to geek out and have the best gadgets on the market. The memories that we were able to relive was just what I needed. To hear his voice. To see his smile or to see how much we truly did as a family and enjoyed it was perfect. Dad was an amazing man and those pictures showed us that through his whole life he was always so inherently good.
S- Our Dad definitely left us too soon, but I remember one of the older Priests here at Our Lady of Grace said this during one of his homilies, “we’re still on this Earth because we are not perfect, but we are learning to be. The moment that God sees us as perfect, or ready to leave this earth, he calls us back home.” Or something like that. God definitely saw our dad as perfect or ready to leave this earth, otherwise he would still be here. That is the only reason I choose to believe why he was taken so quickly and unexpectedly from us.
Unfortunately there will be moments in life where Maureen and I will definitely miss out on some Dad moments. I have chosen to start a Dad journal for all the times when I still need his advice and he would be my first go-to-guy. Moments like professional career advancements or difficult work situations. My dad was and still is my number one role model for educational and professional advice as we share a similar career path of engineering. Moments like expecting a child or trying to deal with a difficult or new and challenging situation with a possible future child. Moments when there might be tension in the family and he would be the most rational mind to diffuse the situation. Despite these moments when Dad won’t be there in person, there are PLENTY of fun and happy past moments where we learned from Dad and enjoyed our time with him, so he will never truly leave us without his D-ADvice.
M- Sometimes his D-ADvice was simple. Enjoy life’s little things. Family moments that make you laugh so hard you cry. Or the times when we can relax and enjoy ourselves despite the world moving at a fast pace. Or the times when you’re so hurt that all that can heal you is a good hug from family and feel better. Dad and I would be perfectly content being in each other’s presence not talking and just watching TV, reading or driving in the car. But the most recent bonding time I’ve had with him was when we opened up our new Red Wing Shoes Store in Pennsylvania. Dad loved working at that store and even opening the store. He and I were the sales people and mom, not so much. So one night when mom wanted to head back to our place, Dad and I went out to dinner. We went to a restaurant that was a bar, but was attached to an ice rink. The whole side of the place was a large viewing window. There was public skating going on and I look down at my phone for a second and I hear Dad suddenly say “oh!” then start to chuckle quietly. I looked at him questioningly and he then replied, “Some kid just fell, hard.” Now while it may not be good to laugh at little kids, it reminds me of some of Dad’s life lesson one liners, “If you don’t fall, you’re not trying hard enough.” Dad, I’ve definitely fallen right now but you know us girls, we’ll get up. I’ll make you proud.
S-Now Dad had a lot of other one-liner D-ADvice that he used so frequently. Just a couple weeks ago in early January, I had called Dad to get some encouragement for a really big meeting at work that would make or break my project. There would be a couple Vice Presidents at the meeting and I was starting to feel the pressure and only Dad would be able to calm me down before the meeting. So he said he would stay up until 11:30pm for me so I could call him at 6:30am, Paris time. Dad sounded really tired but he still stayed up for me. All the D-ADvice that he could really gather for me was his usual Aladdin knock-off advice, “BEEEEEEEE yourself”.
Some of Dad’s other typical D-ADvice included “choose your ‘tude dude”. Right now is a definitely a time to “choose your ‘tude” dudes…and dudettes. Dad might have been taken a few decades too soon, but God wanted him (probably to fix Heaven’s acoustics) so Dad had to leave. Dad would want EVERYONE to celebrate. He has mentioned to Mom, Maureen, and I multiple times that he wants people to celebrate his death with dancing, drinking, and joke telling. Dad always said, you can mourn him a little bit, but he’s going to be the one in the better place.
M- Our Mom wanted us to say a few words for her. In 31 years of being with Dad, she has never heard our Dad raise his voice or say anything to anyone that would diminish one’s self esteem. If anyone would wrong him or honk him off he would just say to mom, “Mary we have to rise above this.” Because indirectly they would honk her off too. He would say, “In the big scheme of things this is nothing.” He would remind her he was behaving in the way he needed to, to make it to his end goal which was to be in Heaven with Jesus. At times our mom would struggle with feeling as an unimportant part of his life. It wasn’t until the other day when a friend told her on the phone, in consoling Mom, that “Larry always made everyone feel like they were the only one in the room.”
S- Talking with Amy, the HR Director of Powerteq where he worked the last 13 months of his life, she said Dad was a marriage role model for the younger engineers at work. He told everyone that he loved his job but it comes second to Mary and his two girls. Mom felt his job at Powerteq was a job that gave him the appreciation, gratitude and respect that she felt he always lacked at GM/Delphi. This last job brought back the joy and feeling of accomplishment to a career he loved.
M- Mom always tells us that our hearts are big enough to love many. She married our Dad who had the biggest heart of all and who loved all. Our Mom now realized she had only played second fiddle to God and she is content in knowing that. If you can walk away from this funeral with one thing, she would like you to realize your heart is big enough to love many, to be kind and to rise above. So Dad, Mom says, “Until we meet again.” (Or as the Terminator taught dad, “Hasta la vista, baby.”)
S- Maureen and I would always end our calls with Dad saying, “I love you dad.” He’d say “I love you more.” We’d say, “I love you most.” And he’d finish with “I love you to infinity and beyond.”
M- Dad, we will love you to infinity and beyond, but one infinity we’ll be forever grateful for is you being our Dad!
S- In true Cathedral fashion we want to end with the Irish Blessing. May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.