Monday, July 10, 2017

Words from my Dad's funeral

Let me preface this post with this statement:
I hope you never have to share at your dad's funeral

Just over a week ago we had a memorial service for my dad. My sister and I arrived early. We walked in around 9am to greet my dad's wife. The three of us entered the room first. As we turned the corner there was his casket. It was open. He was smiling. I want to forget the image because I like to remember him living and not laying down. Many times that day I wished I would see him take a breath. That never happened.

As the morning moved to afternoon we moved to the memorial service. It was a Catholic Mass. Although I'm not sure my dad ever went to a Catholic Mass, this was the service that was chosen. I declined to officiate the service knowing I needed to grieve the loss.

But I did request to say some words at the service. I knew I would be the only one who would speak as a person who knew my father. I knew him for 37 years and 6 months. To be more precise it was 13,710 days that my dad knew me. I was his only son, the one that will carry on his name.

Here are the words that I wrote to say at his funeral. I added some to them but am deciding to only post what I had written down.

Dad's Funeral 

Hi, my name is Neal Benson and I'm Don's son. Thank you for all support. I'm going to do my best to keep it together up here. Please forgive me if I forget to say something.

You're never prepared for what to say at your dad's funeral. I have three areas that came to mind that I'd like to share.

Hard Working

First, my dad was a hard worker. He had a full-time job and keeping up his property would have been enough. But he worked hard. He woke up early and finished the tasks.
When my sister and I would visit his house he would always have a list of chores for us. We thought it was crazy that we had chores at a home we lived at for 48 hours every two weeks but he did. As I look back I see what my dad was teaching me. He modeled hard work to me and I'm going to miss that.


My dad has amazing friends! They would play basketball together, go on trips together, they even worked together. Sometimes they might even have a beer together.


My dad did the best he could with family. When we were young we would constantly see our family. He took us to Tahoe to see his brother Jim. We would go to Oregon and see our grandparents. We'd meet with my uncle, aunt and cousins in Big Bear. We spent time in Palm Springs.
As I grew into an adult, family remained important. He would come see Beth and I in San Diego. He always would visit my family in Vegas and the Bay Area. He frequently went to see Beth. During all this he loved Marilynn. He always spoke so fondly of her. He was always so happy he had found her. The time they spent in the Philippines

Near the end he asked for my family to come visit. He spoke such love to my family. He laughed with my kids, made faces, smiled and told them he loved them.

My dad taught me about hard work, friends and family. I'm blessed he was my dad.

Next time you're wearing a trucker hat, working hard, playing ball or drinking a beer; think of my dad and what a wonderful man he was!

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