Monday, March 7, 2016

The Funeral and EMPTY SADDLE

The days, hours and moment leading up to the funeral were full of experiences we would have rather never had to face. We simply wanted our innocent father and husband alive.

Our wish was not an option. He was dead! Nothing was going to bring him back. All we could do was pull through together. The funeral planning was done together leaning on one another's strength, moment by moment.

The house was full. Never a quiet moment, much like it always was when our big family gathered, except this time anguish permeated the spirit in the home. The sting of death filled our hearts and radiated through our eyes.

We all kept waiting to hear dads boots thump the tile floor as he always walked with energy and purpose. We longed for the sound of his jingling keys that could be heard as he walked, for he always wore them at his hip.

Our waiting was in vain, for he was gone. 

When home we could always expect late night board games at the dinner table but not this time. The families cherished games stayed tucked away in the dark closet.  

We had no time to cry and grieve. There were lawyers to contact, media to organize, book orders to fill, sheriffs to coordinate with and evil trolls to ban and delete.

We released an official family statement to the world starving for information, comforted devastated people, negotiated with ecclesiastical leaders, organized a life slide show of dad, recorded the daughters freedom cry song in studio, ordered a personal autopsy for Dad's body and a brought home a lifeless, stiff cold body.

People by the thousands were reaching out to our family from all over the world to express their condolences. Cards started coming through the mail in mass quantities to show love and support. Local community members fed our LARGE family the entire week. The yard had been renovated. They even painted the chicken coop and swing set to match the house. Over 200 flower arrangements had been ordered for the day of the funeral through the mortuary's virtual forum. Sisters from the church helped watch the children while we tackled each daunting task.

Despite all these experiences we wish we never had to face, we started to become so overcome with feelings of gratitude. This divine emotion of gratitude helped us to endure well. Our burdens were made lighter as our disposition transitioned from deep sorrow and anger to deep gratitude for the outpouring of love. This gratitude ignited the beginning of our healing journey. All those who reached out and continue to reach out to our family in love are responsible for this step toward healing.

There were at least 2300 people who arrived at the funeral. The chapel, cultural hall, stage, hall ways and classrooms were full. Unfortunately everyone who had come to show their respects were not able to make it through to the viewing because the line was too long.
Part 1 LaVoy Finicum's Children Speaking at Funeral
Part 2 LaVoy Finicum's Children Speaking at Funeral
Part 3 LaVoy Finicum's Beautiful Caboose Speaking at Funeral

During the viewing different siblings were scheduled to interview with media, who were stationed outside off of the churches property. This was nerve wrecking as it was uncertain if the media was adversarial or not. Our father was characterized with a false narrative by the mainstream media while in Oregon and then was brutally murdered while his hands were in the air by American authorities.

Trust simply had not been earned. We trusted no one to represent our family honestly. Adding this element to our last day with our fathers lifeless body seemed so unfair. Why should we welcome the media who had demonized our beloved father into our last moments with him? Despite our instinct to shun the world and give up on humanity, by the grace of God we gracefully participated in the interviewers.

After the funeral Thara and Tierra-Belle addressed the media one last time in a press conference. From that point, about 50 cowboys did a Memorial Ride, EMPTY SADDLE with LaVoy's empty saddle being lead by his father, David Finicum.

The musician, Jordan Page, hosted a benefit concert at the local middle school in Kanab, Utah that evening. Jordan  sang the ballad he wrote for dad and a few other of dad's favorite songs. The daughters  of LaVoy were also able to sing their Freedom's Cry song and got a standing ovation. Victoria Sharp, one of the eye witnesses of LaVoy's murder was also able to be there with her family. They sang and she gave her witness  of his unjust murder.  

The Lord sustained every member of the family through this day that we never wanted to face. Now we press forward with faith seeking Gods wisdom, humility, forgiveness, courage and charity in the cause for Liberty.  

LaVoy was buried the next day at the Finicum family cemetery. The grave was hand dug by family members. Dad would not of had it any other way, and neither would have we.

LaVoy's Obituary

Written by: Thara Tenney (LaVoy's Daughter)

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