To many of you, the man we are here to remember today was known as Chef Mike. Or maybe you remember him as a basketball coach, a gingerbread house pro, a cubmaster, a motorcycle and jet ski enthusiast, a husband, a son, or a friend. But to me, Michael Andrew Barret was my dad. And like most fabulous fathers, my dad has taught me many important lessons that I will always carry with me. Not only did my father give me awesome freckle genes, but he also has taught me the importance of service, a positive attitude, and love for family and the gospel.
My father has always set an example of service for me. He always is unselfish, and sacrifices his own wants and needs to improve the lives of others. He even sacrificed sleep in order to ride the Hollywood Tower of Terror with me five times in a row late at night when we went to Disneyland. Not only did he encourage me to serve others, but he set an example of service, building shelters for Girls Camp, helping members of the ward move, and cooking up special events through Beaches like the annual green eggs and ham spectacular. My father even made my school lunch for me every day until my sophomore year of high school--though I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to forgive him for putting a raw potato in my lunch in third grade!
I have never known anyone with a more positive attitude than my father. During the past two years while I have been at school, my father has sent me regular letters to keep me up to date with the family. Even after battling lung cancer for a year, my dad sent me a letter that says “All is well! Mom and I walked up Sierra on Friday. No prob! Next, I’ll embarrass you and Devynne at the pool with my most excellent swimming skills. You missed the bomb cinnamon rolls today. I’d send you one but you never call me or facebook me. One crummy email every two months doesn’t make up for all the poopy diapers I changed on you.” Whenever I was feeling down or unsure of what direction to take in my life, my dad always reminded me to think of soft pink fuzzy bunnies. While most people might roll their eyes at something as absurd as the notion of soft pink fuzzy bunnies, it was always a way for me to put life in perspective and help change my attitude. My father always reminded us of our great potential, and his positive encouragement helped many achieve far beyond their own expectations.
The final lesson my father taught me was the importance of family and the gospel. He always told me that joining the LDS church was the best decision he had ever made in his life. The most blessings and the greatest joys in his life came from his family and the church. He always set an example of prayer, temple attendance and making family his top priority. I owe so much to him for driving me to seminary every morning at 6 am, and for teaching me of the importance of the temple. The most special memory I have with my father is when we were able to go to the temple together as a family. I’m not sure why my father has been taken at this time, but I am comforted and blessed to know that I will be able to spend the rest of eternity with him. I have no idea how I would be able to endure this loss without the knowledge of the eternal family unit. I know that I will be able to see my father again and be with him forever in heaven thanks to the blessing of the temple.
We have so many people to thank. There are too many to name, because everyone here in the audience today has helped my father and our family in some way. At a devotional at my school, BYU, President Holland once said “many people go about God’s work in very quiet, very unspectacular ways...As you invest your time--and inconvenience--in quiet, unassuming service, you will find that ‘his angels have charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up.’” Our family has indeed been supported by the hands of angels, and we are forever grateful for all of the service we have received. Between my wedding and the help everyone has given with Dad, we will be writing thank-you notes for a very, very long time. I will also forever be grateful to the lessons my father has taught me, and for creating such a wonderful family. And remember, always watch out for soft pink fuzzy bunnies!