Jennifer Funk Fine Art

Operation Serve To Heal

May 1st – A New Day

May 1st is the day we lost Brad. Needless to say, it is my least favorite day. This year I wanted to be a little more prepared.  I can always feel it coming and I struggle  for weeks before.

This year was a little different. Tyler had been out on her mission about 6 weeks. We were all still adjusting to her being gone and missing her. I knew that this year would be hard, partly because of that.

We have little rituals that help on that day. I always go to the temple. This helps me the most. We go as a family to the cemetery and do a balloon release. This has also been a good thing. The girls love sending letters up to daddy.

This year I wanted to add a little something different. I have some amazing widow friends who I get great ideas from all the time. I had seen online that some of them had gone around and done good deeds on anniversaries of difficult days. I LOVED that idea.  So, I started working on a plan for our upcoming horrible day.

We talked as a family {Sophie and Addie and I – our little family seems so small now… – side note – the other day while setting the table Addie said, “I wish there was still five of us.” It broke my heart. But, I love that she knows that there really are five of us. That it seems like something is off because she’s setting a place for only three.  I pray that each of my girls know that there are always five of us…but that we just don’t all need a plate}

We talked about what we could do that would be special and meaningful on May 1st. We talked about how their amazing daddy went around doing good. I have saved countless emails and letters that people have sent telling stories about Brad. The common theme is that he served. He helped. He didn’t wait to be asked, he just looked around and saw what needed to be done and got to work. And he was happy doing it. I feel so blessed to have been the recipient of so much of his goodness. He taught me more than I can put in words.  I am so grateful that the girls will get to read those stories and know this about their daddy.

I pitched them my idea about doing some good deeds. They were both excited. {although Sophie did express some concerns that I was going to “give away all our money” haha} They were excited about doing it for people they didn’t know and having it be a surprise.

So we got to work. We printed up some cards that we could hand out with gift cards. For family night the girls wrote notes on the backs of those little cards.

After school on May 1st we got busy with our
“Do a Good Deed Day”
We went around buying food for people at the drive through and giving out gift cards… We talked about how doing something nice for someone else might help us not be so sad today.
And I have to say
It really was so fun.
 {& just so you know, fun and May 1st are words I never thought could ever belong in the same sentence.}
The girls were so excited, watching the different cars behind us, knowing that they were going to get a  little surprise. They were giddy when we were driving away. Sophie loves to “spy” She’s created her own spy club and loves being sneaky. She said this was like a “nice spy day” and she loved it.

It sounds cliche, but choosing to do something besides think about our pain helped so much.
Other May 1st’s I’ve just let myself be swallowed up in the pain of everything that I lost on this day.
Other May 1st’s I have barely been able to function.

After reading about my widow friends doing this I knew it was something that could change this day for us.  I needed it to not be about me. It needed to be about something bigger.

Making it a day that we do good things in honor of Brad completely changed everything.

I was hesitant to post about what we did because – I don’t know- It seemed strange to write about doing something for someone else. But, If my friends who did this wouldn’t have posted about it, I probably would not have thought to do it on my own… so I decided to share.

This year our May 1st was completely different.
There were still lots of tears shed.
But some of those this year were happy…

Happy tears watching my girls be SO excited about giving gifts.
Happy tears knowing that Brad would be happy with what we did with this day.
Happy tears for all the family and friends who reach out and help. Our day was filled surprise treats dropped by the house, gifts on the porch and encouraging notes, texts and messages. Every note and like on facebook was noticed and appreciated. I am so grateful for people who let us know that they remember. It’s funny the way it works out. We always seem to get so much more than we give.

This year our May 1st was transformed.
I think we have a new tradition.
In honor of Major Brad Funk
{looks like the guest of honor showed up as well}
six years closer to you my boy
We Love You