Thursday, June 2, 2011

Words at Candlelight

Scanning the sea of crimson robes, it was the sight that took my breath away in the chill of last Wednesday evening. I stood elevated on the bed of a vehicle with microphone in hand. Quivering, the only words that would form were "Wow"!

How would I ever be able to say the things I had prepared?

And then...a calming warmth enveloped me and I began...

The scene before me all started with a delightful surprise visit from the 2011 senior class officers of LHS a few weeks ago.

 They presented their plan and sought our approval.

In Jocie's honor, they wanted their senior class gift to be a bright yellow bench with a plaque dedicating the gift to their classmate and friend. They miss her too!

Quickly and efficiently, the student officers placed an order for the bench, found a source for the bronze plaque, and lined up a contractor.

We were touched beyond words at the gesture. But you see, this Class of 2011 is filled with not only thoughtful and sincere teenagers, but extraordinary ones!

The officers had something else to ask...a simple request really. Would we speak at Candlelight? Having already gone through two LHS graduates, we knew exactly what this meant. The tears fell as we humbly accepted the request. Dean elected me to speak on behalf of all of us.

The bench is located at the back of the high school overlooking the football field. The place where Jocie famously became a member of the Touchdown Club. With golden sunsets on one side, and her snowy mountains on the other, it's perfect.  

Doesn't Cass look like a J Crew model here?
We gathered together, sans Dione and Bob (missed you) to see the bench for the first time just before the ceremony began.
As darkness settles around the bench just before I would speak, Jocie's spirit settles there too.

Here is some of what I said...

"On behalf of the Garlick family, it is a sincere pleasure to be with you tonight. The time-honored graduation ceremony of “Candlelight” at Logan High School is deeply embedded with tradition. Knowing that we would be speaking in place of one of you graduating seniors, humbles our family completely.
 So, I tried to think of what Jocie might want to tell you if she were here speaking to you right now.
  • First, I’m sure she would be thrilled that the newest make-out spot at Logan High School was a yellow bench with her name on it.
  • Second, she would tell you all how much she loves you but not in a totally serious way, much louder and more like “Dude, you’re all awesome!”
  • And also, I know she’d want you to hear her best advice for your you so often heard her say “Go Big or Go Home”
Four years ago I watched you all enter Logan High School with excitement, fear, dread, inhibition and hopes. You were shorter, smaller, and had interesting choices in hair style and fashion. Today you are older, taller, smarter, wiser and excellent drivers. You have achieved a wonderful high school education and tomorrow you graduate. As you each start out on a new path, I ask you, what will your legacy be?

As you can imagine, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on life and legacy. With legacy being the result of living an authentic life; no matter how long that life might be.

If you think about it, there are literally thousands of people who lived their lives in such a way that deeply affects each one of us today.
  • The founding fathers of our nation who believed in gaining freedom and a better way of life.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who knew this country should not be divided.
  • Those of you with pioneer heritage, whose family members left everything they owned to move to this beautiful valley we now call home.
  • Family members…a grandparent, aunt, or uncle whose legacy might not have been famous, but a true representation of what it is to be a truly great person.
  • Perhaps a coach, or treasured friend left you their legacy, whose example reminds you daily to achieve greatness and fully embrace everything and everyone around you.
Just like those who came before us left us their legacy. Those who will come after us will come to know the legacy that we leave them. What will your legacy be?

You most certainly will have challenges, struggles, unexpected or life-altering difficulties that threaten to inhibit or even destroy your legacy. What will you do? I stand before you tonight to tell you that you can make it through these moments. If you pursue through the unimaginable, stay strong and believe in your own personal legacy I know you will succeed.
Some parting words I know Jocie would want to share with you…have fun in your life, be crazy, maybe even a tiny bit weird. Go big or go home...but mostly go big!

To the Class of 2011…We will always love you and consider you part of our family. We expect many amazing accomplishments from you, with a legacy that lives on for generations."

And scene...and what a scene it was!


  1. As a fellow Logan-resident, I followed Jocie's story and have been so touched to read your blog and watch your family heal.

    I just wanted to say how inspiring you have been to me, as I heal from my own (different kind of) loss. You have helped me see the beauty in each day and to live in a way my loved one would be proud of.

    I will definitely be taking my 3 Wild Boys to see Jocie's bench at Logan High. I will tell them about your sweet Red One. I will tell them about leaving a legacy. I will probably leave out the Make-out bench part. ;)

    Thank you.

  2. Wow. What a wonderful gift and what a wonderful legacy. Thank you for sharing it here so those of us not near can feel the joy.

  3. I am so glad you blogged this experience. What a blessing or you and for those kids. I hope this helped your heart heal just one little bit more. Love you!

  4. Yet another post where I can't find adequate words to comment.

    You did well. Your words and your message are a gift. I imagine everyone left Candlelight a bit changed that night.

    And yellow! It's so cheery and lovely.

  5. This post has just taken my breath away. So beautiful that Jocie's school has found a permament way to remember her by setting that bench in that perfect spot. You spoke beautifully Lisa and chills ran down my arms as I read your blog. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    God Bless you All.

  6. I love the bench. And I LOVE your comments. Your entire family is an inspiration, Lisa. Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. I'm so glad you posted this! When I heard there was an awesome yellow bench at Logan High dedicated to Jocie I was so excited and got chills! And I'm sure you did an amazing job at Candlelight!

  8. i read your blog via michelle, my favorite back door neighbor ;)

    i love it! you make me want to be better and to love life no matter what!

    your happiness inspires me and your family is absolutely adorable!