Every week we would write her report, and practice it at home. She did well at home, but when called upon to speak in front of the class, she struggled. She was nervous. She couldn't hold still, and tripped up repeatedly on her words.
So when she asked to speak at the funeral, I thought it would never happen. I didn't tell her no. I told her to write out what she wanted to say thinking she would see the crowd and decide she didn't want to speak. She would then have what she wrote as a keepsake.
She wrote a rough draft, made some corrections, and rewrote the whole thing. The morning of the funeral she forgot the paper at home. When we realized that we were already at the funeral home. I tried to encourage her that it was ok. She would still have the paper at home, and it was ok if she didn't speak at the funeral. I thought it would save her the stress of deciding if she could get up in front of the crowd (which I was pretty convinced she wouldn't want to do.) Grandma Gail saw the situation differently.
She said to Vivian, "Well we have an hour. Let's find you a pen and paper, and you can write it again." That is exactly what they did.
When the time for sharing came, Vivian was not hesitant. She didn't even seem nervous. In fact, she was chomping at the bit. We had asked Uncle Jake to help her when she went up. She kept looking back to him like, "C'mon!" Finally there was a pause in the testimonies, and she made a beeline to the front. She didn't even wait for Jake. I'm not sure he was even out of his seat.
Then my baby girl, who couldn't speak in front of her class of 14, got up on a bench so she could reach the microphone, with her Uncle behind her for moral support, and spoke about her dad to well over 100 people.
My dad was a good man. He was nice. He was generous, and he was kind. He was happy. He was loving, and he was awesome! I love him, and my family loved him. Even though he was very sick, he was happy. Even though he was in the hospital, he acted normal. He was always peaceful. He was always fun! He always had a list of work to do. He made my family so happy! He loved music. He loved the farm. He loved all of his family. When the family was scared, he said, "It will be alright." When times were rough, he said, "It will be all right." He had a great school to teach at. He loved the school, and the school loved him. He was an amazing dad!