Remembering My Dad


A Eulogy For Emery Gigger

Emery in front of a tent

When a loved one passes away, people try to console those left behind, but comments like “I'm so sorry for your loss,” can't begin to fill the void. People who are grieving are affected on such a deep level of their being and have to deal with a sense of emptiness they never knew they had — not only that but all of the different thoughts and emotions associated with death as well.

Losing a father isn't easy.

I miss you dad and thank you for giving me the greatest gift of having me in your life.

Emery in front of a tent

Remembering My Dad

Read on January 8, 2022

Hello, everyone, and thank you for coming here to celebrate my father. I know some have traveled a very long distance to pay your respects and I know my dad would have loved seeing you all together. Although today is going to be a very difficult day, I want to take this time to remember and honor the special memories my sisters and I had with our dad.

Dads are someone to look up to, someone to follow, someone to admire, someone to be proud of and brag about, someone to hold and someone to cry with, someone to learn from and someone to respect, someone to listen to and someone to talk to, someone to try and impress, sometimes rebel against, and, someone, most of all, with whom to share lots of love and memories with.

My father was an incredible person.

I am so incredibly grateful and happy that I can be here today and tell you that I have had all this and much, much more with my dad. I have been blessed to have had Emery as my father.

To say I loved my dad would be an understatement and to say I’m going to miss him would be an even greater understatement.

I cannot begin to imagine going forward and not having my father on the end of a phone or finding random gifts of steaks and pears on my doorstep without any other reason than he was thinking about me. I’ll miss His ever graceful manner in visiting each one of his children to give his fatherly advice on our lives, our children, and most importantly what he would do with our homes if they were his. I’ll miss his talks about the love he had for his plants, what Max the cat was up to, and wanting to help with any project great or small with which I happen to be needing advice on.

Dad was always there for everyone, family, neighbors, colleagues, or friends. . .

He drove Tiffany across the country to drop her at college giving her the family car that, funny enough, is still running. He would fly out to spend hours with Laura in what he dubbed their  garden, weeding, pruning, and creating beautiful bouquets out of the florals in her yard. And if on the occasion Dad couldn’t be there he’d often FaceTime Laura and make small talk just long enough to bring up the garden so she could walk him through it, inspecting every plant and bug. He’d Hop on a plane to the other side of the world to see Emma and Tiffany, exploring cities and shires in their little corners of the world with them. Dad would spend countless hours at the store picking out cards for birthdays, holidays and the like. (Most of which he never sent and some might say he had purchased enough cards to open up his own hallmark store.)

He always made sure each family member got their own greeting card for every holiday and birthday– saving the extra special pop up hallmark cards for Mom and the grandkids. Each Christmas he made certain everyone in the room had a gift –and if they were an unexpected guest that was there to celebrate with us, he would sneak off, quickly write up a note on a card chosen from the stack he seemed to always have on hand putting in a little something (usually cash or giftcards) just to make sure that everyone felt included and had something to open. He always felt inclined to fold the laundry, clean the kitchen, and do the dishes to help contribute to the household chores for whoever he was visiting. He loved to surprise his grandchildren with trinkets, toys, ornaments, and clothing from his travels around the world for work and leisure. He filled Christmas stockings with treats for everyone’s pets and spoiled Max with more milk than he deserved. No one’s feet ever went cold with dad around — he made sure new socks were in abundance for every single person in the family. The women in his life were lucky to receive flowers from him every Mother’s Day or even just because he saw them at the grocery store and picked them up. He was so good at the little things, the details that sometimes get overlooked.  He was always able to draw upon boundless energy when it came to helping others. If there was anyone who expressed an important event to dad, no matter how large or small, he would do the absolute most to do what he could to attend.

Dad was hard working, compassionate towards everyone, and deserved the success and rich life that he enjoyed. He taught me many, many things — like overcoming the difficulties of mowing a large yard before buying a riding lawn mower the same year I went off to college. Saying, “I taught you what you needed to learn. Now I just need to cut the grass.” — but I think most importantly he gave me and my sisters the ability to know that if you really put your mind to something, work hard, never be afraid to give anything a go, anything is possible.

There were many times we drove cross country together whether for school or so he and my mom could have a car for their extended stays in utah. During those long hours he was not shy in saying how proud he was of me, of my sisters and the lives we had all built for ourselves and families. He didn’t always understand our choices and sometimes thought we were odd, but he was loving and kind. Despite how he may not have understood what I did for a living or how someone like me could have gotten such a flexible job that let me grow a beard, wear a hat and allowed me to be around my family so much he supported me nonetheless in my goals and cheered on my successes.

Of course, he wasn't 100% good humored. Like anyone he had his little ways and quirks. At times he had a short fuse, hated inefficiency, didn’t like any kind of dilly dallying, and couldn’t stand hypocrites. He was a real perfectionist and everything had to be in its place the correct way. The explosions you'd hear if something was put back in the wrong spot were equal parts hilarious and terrifying. Occasionally we’d really get after him about his habit of refolding clothes and reironing his shirts after asking my mom or one of us to do it for him. He took our leg pulling in good spirits, though. He wasn’t at all good at throwing out food insisting that if it was frozen it was still good and he was horrible at finding things. But I think that is fairly normal for men isn’t it? I know at our house if it’s in the fridge it’s still good to me and if my wallet wasn’t attached to my phone I wouldn’t know where it was.

Dad was famous for his plants. Even now if you were to visit his house and go into the basement you’d find lamps on a timer and trees growing up around his elliptical machine. One might even think he was trying his hand at growing his own pharmaceuticals down there. Not a phone call would go by that he didn’t talk about his lemon tree or how the grass was now starting to grow despite the moss that is everywhere. He would often talk about his love for energy efficient homes, making it known that he saw something on HGTV that I needed to consider for my own home, or how he was prepping the house for the next power outage that would surely happen once the hurricane came up the cost.

His passion for buying china sets truly surpassed most people's desire to buy gold in a recession. Each set gave him many happy hours and stories of his finds. Just before Christmas he had ordered a new one from Japan that sadly we will not get to know his story of.

Despite his silly ways of speaking and using words he couldn’t pronounce, such as huge or indeed, Dad was incredibly practical and creative and I am so lucky that he passed on so much of his knowledge and skills to me.

It is of course always possible to look back and remember those times when things didn’t always go to plan, such as the many times we all went down to Williamsburg Virginia where it rained and we were all so wet and sticky. He had a true love for history and would buy a yearly pass each time we went thinking we would be back that same year but it never happened.

Dad's love was unconditional and this is something I will cherish from his character – and take with me forever. His kindness and generosity will be remembered by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. 

His grandchildren will remember him as the grandpa that would teach them how to sort, wash, and fold laundry the correct way, as the grandpa that would yell during trick or treating to stop running ahead or “your legs will fall off.” As the grandpa who always needed a taste of what was on your plate without permission.

His bonus sons will remember watching low budget British shows and getting taught the proper way to launder dress shirts.

His bonus daughter will remember his odd requests in the middle of the night for a warm sandwich and how he’d always tell her to let him know if I was being mean and he’d take care of it.

I feel so grateful to have had as much time with my father as I did. I miss him so much already and I will forever remember having the most incredible dad. We were all lucky to have him in our lives. We’ll miss his thoughtful random gifts, his sympathetic listening ear, and of course his requests for warm sandwiches as well as his struggle to say the word huge. The world is a darker place today, but my dad would tell us to go make it brighter.

We’ll do our best, Dad. Indeed.

Miss you Dad...

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