I was unprepared for how seeing this image would affect me. It made things feel final, and I cried. So I decided the best therapy would be to finally sit down and write about this.
To begin here is his obituary.
I, Lonnie Frederick Baird, having been born of goodly parents, Frederick Twede Baird and Sarah Orton Baird, both of whom were descendants of valiant pioneer stock, appreciate the great examples provided by my parents; I love you both very much. I have been highly favored of the Lord all the days of my life. I was born in West Mountain/Payson, Utah. I was welcomed into the home by a hearty big brother, Dennis (Christine), and a sweet sister, Vickie (deceased). Before long we had a baseball team, joined by Scott (Bonnie), Jillean (Art Allen), Jacquelyn (Mark Standing), Chad (Cathy), then Vickie escorted both Kimberli (Brian Westover), and Daren (Cami) from above. I was raised in Orem where I attended great schools and had many influential church leaders. I had the privilege of serving in the Munich, Southern German Mission. I learned to love the German people and the culture. I met my sweetheart, Julie Anne Smith, from Moultrie, Georgia and married her in the Manti Temple in January 1974. Thank you, Julie, for your kind and considerate care. That marriage began another great family: Christopher James (Kimberlie), Shon Frederick, Lonnie Joseph (Cody), Timothy Seth, Amy Rebecca (Mikel Jackson) and Elizabeth Anne (James Hurst). I now have 15 dear grandchildren and I am going to guide more this way from heaven to earth; the first arriving in March of this year. I love this country. I served this country and retired from the US Army. I worked hard as a small business owner for over 30 years. I also served this country working for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I loved those I served and served with. I loved to travel and always found kind, generous people in this gorgeous earth. So I say to myself, “What a wonderful World.”Dear Lonnie was diagnosed 5 years ago with late stage colon cancer, he fought hard and had 4 more wonderful years, and then it metastasized to his brain. He encourages everyone to get a colonoscopy; it will be so much easier than what he went through! He was a wonderful son, brother, husband, father and grandfather. He was faithful in all his church callings and was dedicated to serving the Lord. He was always an optimist, never a complainer, and a man full of faith. Even on the day he left us he proclaimed he felt "great." He passed away surrounded by family at home. We will miss him greatly. Until we meet again!
My father is a wonderful man and has been a great example and teacher to me and I am certain will continue to be.
Each of his children was asked to prepare a little something and share it at his funeral services. I thought long and hard and wrote down my thoughts and what I wanted to say but I did not bring it with me so the words I shared were somewhat jumbled. So I would like to share what I wanted to say hear:
I would like to finish this post urging and encouraging everyone to learn from and follow my Fathers example, to love unconditionally, especially your family for they are God's greatest gift to you.
While these past few months I have missed my dad and have cried over him, the thing that has broken my heart the most these months is seeing other families being ripped apart. Miscommunication, pettiness and pride can tear families apart and hurt much worse than death. Death is not a permanent separation of family, but what we do and how we treat each other in this life can lead to a permanent separation. So can we all step back and put our pride aside and love our families deeper.
In our most recent April 2013 Conference Elder Richard G Scott said this specifically speaking of families: "Recognize the good in others, not their stains. At times a stain needs appropriate attention to be cleansed, but always build on his or her virtues." My dad would have agreed full heartedly with this.