I wanted to share a few things about the funeral (the “farewell”) for my nephew, David Andrew Edmunds. He’s the youngest son of my youngest brother, Richard, and his wife Glenda. He was 23 years old.
David was pretty shy and quiet, but very loving, and very kind. He was a gifted musician. Guitar and cello were his main instruments, but he also played drums and sang.
He was living with his folks and two of his brothers, Michael and Kevin, in Las Vegas, where Richard was working. They had lived in Ivins (in the St. George area) for several years. The eldest son, Rich, lives in St. George with his wife Cassidee and their two little girls, Layla and Ivy.
The funeral was held there at the chapel where they had attended church. So many friends from places they had lived gathered and shared comfort and kindness.
This was such a horrific shock. I’m not sure if I know exactly what happened. A week ago Friday, David went hiking in the red rock area of Las Vegas. He loved going to watch the sun set. He never came home. Richard and Glenda didn’t know what had happened, and it must have been SO HARD, just waiting and wondering, calling the police, feeling so helpless. It seems to me that the unknown is much more difficult to handle than the known.
As I understand it, some guys shooting B-B guns found his body. It was in a rugged area (he had fallen while hiking), and I think they weren’t able to get his body out and identify him until a week ago today, on Sunday.
As hard and painful as this was, I think it helped to have so many fa mily members and friends and neighbors gather. All 4 of my brothers, and 3 of the 4 of us sisters were there. Lots of other family members. Many of David’s friends from his bands and other musical adventures. Teachers, mentors, classmates. Neighbors and friends from several places where the family has lived.
This was a beautiful, tender, uplifting funeral. One of my brothers, Frank, offered the family prayer. Uncles and cousins were pall bearers. Both parents spoke, and the elder brother, Rich (who also dedicated the grave). Uncles prayed. Each talk was “just right” – testimony (for those who didn’t know much about what we believe), and great stories to remind us of what a wonderful man David was/is. I felt him there, along with other loved ones from “Over There.”
And the music… oh my goodness, I’ve never been to a funeral where there was so much incredible music! It added so much to the celebration of David’s life. All who participated are professional musicians – David’s teachers, mentors, friends. A guitar solo (Bach number), Cello solo (theme from “The Mission” from the movie combined with “How Great Thou Art” (incredible!), Vocal solo: “Be Still, my Soul,” Viola solo … each was so exquisite! The whole program brought smiles, memories, joy, comfort, and gratitude that we have known David and can be with him again.
At the grave site, Paul, a cousin about the same age as David, played his guitar: “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” Another cousin, Dayne, also the same age, sang an amazing song which I’ve never heard (I’ll try to get the words so I can share them with you) … a song about grief, and sorrow and comfort. The cemetery there in Ivins is quite small. Beautiful. with the red-rock mountains behind.
I guess my message is that I know we are children of God and that He loves each of us dearly. I know David is safe with many loved ones. I know life is fragile, in a way – that we rarely know when we might be having our last chance to say “I love you.” I’m motivated to say it more often – to express it more freely. I express thanks and love to all of you for your kind words and “hanging in there” during this time when I’ve posted so little. I hope to get back to once a day (but that may take a few more days as I do more traveling).
Happy Birthday to Glenda today and Richard on Thursday. May sweet comfort and love surround you.