Hearing My Daddy’s Voice

hearing daddy's voice

A few months ago the California Highway Patrol got in touch with me.  I was told that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Academy Museum in Sacramento had updated their display devoted to the Newhall Incident, in which my daddy and three other officers lost their lives (see my review of Brandishing for the background on this).  The CHP wondered if my family would like to attend the dedication, tour the museum and maybe even donate some memorabilia.

I don’t have much memorabilia from that time, so I didn’t want to give anything up.  I forwarded the email to my mom and brother.  I also wasn’t interested in attending the event.  I knew it would be very emotional and I wasn’t sure I could handle it.

A couple of weeks before the event, I got a message from my Uncle Bob (my daddy’s brother).  He had also been invited to the event and wanted to know if I would be attending.  I told him I would go if he was going.  Then my brother messaged me and said he was also attending.  He was sending an RSVP at that moment.  I asked him to add Art and I to the guest list.  I decided with that much family support, I should go.

When we arrived at the Academy the morning of the event, I found out that it was an annual memorial service for all fallen CHP officers.  We got there early so Uncle Bob took us through the exhibit before the ceremony began ( he had toured it the night before).

At the “entrance” to the exhibit, there were two pillars,  each with photos of the fallen four officers and their bios.

hearing daddy's voice
Me with my daddy’s bio

Along the walls was a timeline of the incident:

hearing daddy's voice

There was a video playing on a loop.  It explained the incident and interviewed one of the widows as well as some of the people who had arrived on the scene afterward.  My uncle leaned over and whispered, “When you hear an officer’s voice come over the radio, that’s your Daddy Skip.”  The voice yelled “shots fired” and I instantly knew.  Even though I hadn’t heard his voice since I was three years old.  I was hearing my daddy’s voice.  It was a blend of my uncle and my brother.  I wanted to sit on the bench in front of the video and listen to it over and over, just so I could hear his voice again.

I pulled myself together so we could take our seats at the memorial ceremony.  I had never been to one before.  It was very special.  The governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general were there.  There were speeches and beautiful music. The names of every fallen officer were read.  There was a 21 gun salute and CHP helicopters flew over in formation.

Around the fountain in the courtyard of the Academy, there is a brass plaque for each fallen officer.  At the end of the ceremony, each of us who had a fallen loved one was given a rose to put on that person’s plaque.  One of the four officers from the Newhall incident had no loved ones present, so we made sure his plaque got a rose as well.

hearing daddy's voice

I stood next to Nikki Frago, the Newhall widow in attendance.  Obviously it was a very emotional time for her as well.  She didn’t have any family with her, so I took her hand for a few minutes.

hearing daddy's voice

A little bit later, we walked through the exhibit again and spoke to some of the retired CHP officers.  It was a very emotional day, but I am so glad I went.  It felt good to pay tribute to my daddy and the other officers.  It was nice to know they will not be forgotten.

My brother Jay, his wife Jennie, me and Uncle Bob
My brother Jay, his wife Jennie, me and Uncle Bob

Writing My Own Eulogy

writing my own eulogy

I have been working through the book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.  Lately I have felt a little trapped in my current job and needed a way to figure out my new direction.

In chapter 4, the authors encourage us to write our own eulogy. (A eulogy is defined as a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, typically someone who has just died.)  At first, the idea of writing my own eulogy was a little creepy.   But then I realized it was important to me how I will be remembered when I’m gone.  So, I procrastinated for a few days, but I finally did it.

First, I listed all the key relationships in my life (yours may be different):

God

Art

Children

Parents

Brothers

Followers (on blog, Sparkpeople, and/or social media)

Friends

I wrote what I wanted each group to remember about me if I died tomorrow.  Then I compiled it all together into a eulogy.  I will use this eulogy to help determine what is important to me and what my goals for the future should be.

My Eulogy

Teressa was known as a tenderhearted woman whose mission in life was to help others change their lives for the positive. Her husband and her family were the most important relationships in her life (after God) and she tried to spend as much time as possible encouraging, supporting and enjoying her time with them.

Teressa was honest, sometimes to a fault, and brave.  One thing she learned later on was how important it was to take care of herself, in order to be able to take care of others.  She always encouraged others to take care of themselves and speak up for themselves.  In addition, she taught people to stand on their own two feet.  Her philosophy was to support and encourage, but not to do for someone what they were capable of doing for themselves.

After many years as a homeschooling mom and accounting professional, Teressa left the corporate sector to pursue her dream of being a life coach and author.  Those who read her books, participated in her coaching sessions and followed her on social media were positively impacted by what she had to say and how willing she was to listen without judging.

This is what I would like my life to be.  Obviously, I have a ways to go to get there.  I will continue working through Living Forward and I hope you will follow along with me!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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