Yesterday we had the Celebration of Life for Grandpa Marsh at their church in Walnut Creek and it was really wonderful. A lot of family members spoke at the service, but Dad was sort of the anchor of it all and said some things that really touched me, so I wanted to mention a bit of what he said here, though a brief description will hardly do it justice.
Dad started out by saying that the great spiritual leaders of the past are no longer with us in physical form, even though they may have demonstrated that death is no obstacle to that for them. It's just that they could be more effective reaching millions of people through spirit, rather than dozens or hundreds through their physical bodies. So then he said that, while Grandpa Marsh's body is not with us anymore, we can still ask the question "Where is Marshall?" And he had Aunt Pat, the first of Marsh and Jackie's children, stand up. He pointed out her business sense, and her stubbornness, and other qualities of Grandpa Marsh that were embodied in her, and he said "There's Marshall." And then he moved on to Uncle Jim, Aunt Kathy and himself, and finally to the grandchildren, Aprill, Pam, Lacey and me. Each one of us got a unique "inheritance" from Grandpa Marsh, whether it was his love of God, his love of nature, his craftmanship or any number of other characteristics. And then when we were all standing, he turned to the congregation and asked anyone who has ever been inspired, influenced, or loved by Grandpa Marsh to stand up. The entire room rose, and he said "There's Marshall." It's hard really to describe how perfect it all was. Dad managed to pay a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man while at the same time binding the family together and including the entire community. I always know that if there's ever anyone who can rise to such an occasion it's my Dad, but he will still always amaze and inspire me.
So on that note, I would like to say Happy Father's Day -- to my grandfathers Pa and Grandpa Marsh, and most especially to my own wonderful father, Robert Waldon. I love you all.