The Funeral

December 5, 2015  I didn’t know how we would make it through this day. How would Laura, Brian and I make it through this service.  We are strong. We can do it.  We can do anything.  Especially with Family and Friends supporting us.  Thank you.  Thank you ALL for being there with us and also those sending us Light and Love.

Wayne, Wayne our dear friend and I are going to speak during the service. Will we be able to?  A nod to Steve or Annie and we won’t have to, we can sit and let the service move on.  No, that is not what is meant to be.  We must share.  We must share our Hearts.

The Eagles played in the background.  I did not want silence, except for the Military Honors.  The Military Presented the Colors.  Psalm 23 resounded throughout the room.  Precious Lord, Take My Hand, Elvis Presley played for all to hear.

Then it was our turn….  I started…

I looked out at all the family and friends that came to support us.  I covered my mouth, tears coming to my eyes.

I Love you!  I Love you all! Thank you for coming.

Dan Allen Shetley ~ November 14, 1965 to November 30, 2015

Born November 14, 1965 in California to Bonnie and Dale Shetley.  He died in his home on November 30, 2015.  He was an only child.

He graduated from Pasadena High School in 1983.  He enlisted in the US Air Force in 1984 and served his country honorably for over 25 years. During his years in the Air Force, he deployed to Korea, Kuwait (several times), Romania, and Iraq.  He was honored and privileged to serve with so many wonderful people throughout the years.  He loved you all.  He loved serving with his peers and assisting younger airmen be the best they could be.  He wanted them to know their job well and come back from the deployments alive.  He achieved that goal, he brought back all his airmen from the deployments and was very proud.  Dan served his country well, very well.  He gave his ALL to serve his country and take care of his family.  He specialized as an Air Weapons Controller.  His final Assignment was at Cheyenne Mountain AFB/Peterson AFB.  After retiring from the Air Force, he went to school at WyoTech in Laramie, WY with the intent of restoring his Classic ’65 and ’67 Mustangs.  He enjoyed constructing model cars, restoring his classic cars, working on the house and being with family and friends.

Then I said something like this…..

You have a choice.  Each day, each moment you have a choice.  You have a choice.

To Live or not to Live

To Love or not to Love

To Smile or not to Smile

To get out of Bed or not

To laugh or cry

To Heal or to Suffer

To Light up a Room when you walk into it or hide your Beautiful Presence from those around you.

Me – I determine each day to make this Present Day, This Current Day – NOW – the Best Day of my Life so far.  The Past is in the Past, The Future is in the Future.  NOW is here – Breath it in.  Make a conscious choice to Live in this Moment, Right NOW.  To Look at those around you and Pour out Love.  Shower them with kindness and goodness.

What do you choose?  Right NOW you are making a choice.

I CHOOSE TO LIVE.

Then Wayne so eloquently stated…

The other day Tammy asked if I would like to say something. I hesitated. Not because I didn’t want to say anything but because I wasn’t sure if I could say anything. 8 months ago I went through my own personal tragedy, 8 months ago this Monday. My husband, a guy I had been with for over 19 years ended his own life. I know what Tammy is going through. I know what her next 8 months are going to be like. I’ve been through it all myself. My family came to town and helped me pack the house, sell the furniture, sell the cars, the motor home, our rental condo, put the house on the market and move. I couldn’t have done it without my family and my friends. Dan and Tammy were like my family. I met Dan in the Air Force when I was 18. We were both stationed in Germany together. In a lot of ways it was a dream assignment – distant lands, strange languages, great food and lots of parties. It had it’s moments of boredom, frustration and hard work but the good times are what I remember the most. After our unit closed down I lost touch with Dan for a few years until I was stationed in Southern California in January of 1990. I was assigned to the same crew as Dan and he was excited for me to meet Tammy. She was every bit as amazing as he described, she was funny and pretty and welcomed me into their lives like I was a brother. Over the next 5 years I spent a lot of time hanging out with both of them. My friend Johnny and I spent countless days playing darts and computer games well into the night. Tammy usually had to work the following morning but she never complained. I spent countless evenings at their house for dinner. Tammy probably cooked way more food for me than I ever made on my own. We went camping and fishing and skiing together. I helped paint their house and move furniture. Dan got me involved in a few car restorations at his house and I loved hanging out with him doing guy things. I never had anyone in my life that I could do guy things with. When I moved out of the dorm on base and into my own apartment Dan and Tammy loaned me things to help get me started. They were my family. We may have been separated by distance in the years since but they’ve always remained close to my heart. When I told my friends about Dan’s passing, some of their first words were about it being a senseless waste of life. I don’t agree. I agree that it was a premature ending, but an entire life can’t be summed up in a few moments of despair. He has two lovely children, he had a wonderful career that I am envious of, he had his hobbies that he loved, he had so much to be proud of. He had all of you in his life. I could never have accomplished the things he did. I’m proud of the things he did and I’m proud of how far he made it. I will remember the good times.

Thank you, Wayne.  Thank you.

We were honored to have Steve Wamberg give the Sermon.  He did a brilliant job.  Suicide is NOT the unforgivable sin.  God Loves and Accepts Dan just as he is.  All of us, just as we are.

God Loves us ALL more than we can even fathom.  Nothing we can do can make him Love us any More.  Nothing we can do can make him Love us any Less.  He Loves us UNCONDITIONALLY.  Totally.  Completely.  BELIEVE IT.

Psalm 139:1-18

Music: Hello, Adele — How are we ever going to make it through this song without sobbing…..  Then I feel a hand on my right shoulder.  It is our Beautiful Daughter, Laura.  She says “Let’s Dance, Mom.”  Oh, Yes, Let’s Dance.  How Glorious to Dance in the Presence of the LORD.  And to dance with Dan.  We danced at our Wedding and we danced at his funeral. Brian came up to dance with us and we invited all to Dance.

We Danced as a Celebration of Life.  

(Some didn’t understand or agree.  That is OK.  We followed our Hearts.)

*Presentation of flag to family — Oh my.  This was so much harder than I ever thought.  The Military and it’s ceremonies were part of our lives for 25 years and the airmen did a wonderful job.  Dan was proud.  

That snapping, OH that snapping.  Every time they snapped that flag to fold it I cried out.  Unfettered anguish.  I felt the pain to the depths of my Being.  Not holding anything back.  I felt and released all that pain and sorrow.  Holding tightly to my dear children.  One on each side of me.  Brian holding my head as I sobbed.  Oh my…  Oh my….  I still feel the pain as I type this.  Tears stream down my cheeks.  And it wasn’t over.  The pain wasn’t over.  The gun shots.  The Three-volley salute.  Oh, those gun shots.  I could not stand those gun shots.  Brian covered my ears… Laura held on tightly to my hands.  We held tightly to each other.  Oh, no more, no more gun shots…  Please…  Please…   Then, then they handed us that flag.  Like I had seen done many times before.  His flag.  Dan’s flag.  She tried to hand me three cartridges from the salute.  I could not take them.  Brian held out his hand to take them.  My son, doing once again what I could not do.  Thank you.

Scripture readings as benediction: I John 3:19-20; Isaiah 61:1-7

Proud to be an American started.  This is the song we listened to when Dan returned from his deployment to Iraq.  When we drove through the street by our home, flags lining both sides of the street.  The Boy Scouts put them up to honor Dan’s return from the war.  He was so touched and honored.  How were we going to make it through this song.  We were just going to listen. No, that just wasn’t right.  I started singing.  We all sang.  Loudly and Proudly.  How Glorious to sing together. 

Dismissal: Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd

It was over.  We greeted all our guests with a Smile and a Hug.  We are so honored for you all to join us.

It was a Celebration of Life.  It turned out so much better than I ever dreamed it could.

We Honored.  We Remembered.  We Danced.  We Cried.  We Sang.  

 

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