I know, I know, the title sounds alarming. It used to sound alarming to me too! Fortunately for me I no longer view death as an ending, but a new beginning. A BEAUTIFUL new beginning.
Thanks to You Tube, I have viewed videos about cremation and all other sorts of Mortuary Science stuff. I have no personal fear of death or dying.
I no longer struggle with suicide as I did throughout my childhood and most of my adult life. I enjoy the life that I have today as my authentic self. I don’t wish to die any time soon. I have two elementary-aged daughters, a best friend, new and “old” friends that I wish to make more memories with for a very long time.
I have been to countless funerals and memorial services in my brief lifetime of 43 years. Some have been pure celebrations of life and others have been pure hell and pain. In each category both have included an obituary which was typically someone speaking words of encouragement and remembrance of the deceased. Some even included the words or phrase, “if ‘John’ were here, he would want to say, or want you to know that…” You fill in the blank. Most of you know exactly what I’m attempting to communicate. Some of you even sat there thinking that the person speaking was a big fat liar or was at the wrong memorial service. Laugh out Loud!
I have sat at those services and often wondered what that person would really say if they were actually there. I have often told myself… self…, before you die, be sure to write your own obituary so that no one will have to lie or wonder what you really meant to say or communicate to the guests at your service. So I decided to take a break from my childhood story to write exactly what I would want said at my service, should I get to opportunity leave this world for my new world sooner than I hope for. I’m leaving for my annual cruise on October 5th, so I’d really like to wait until then. Laugh out Loud.
Chet Lloyd DeRouen was born in Southwest Louisiana in the Town of Franklin. He grew up in Baldwin, Louisiana. He is the third child of Charles Lloyd, Sr. and Marie Perez Derouen of New Iberia, Louisiana and Jeanerette, Louisiana respectively. Chet was very scared, anxious, shamed, sad and depressed. He kept secrets and believed lies about not ever being good enough. He was guarded and did not let people (especially men) ever get close to him. He was afraid that they would “find him out” and learn the truth about who he “really was.” He kept people close enough to love but far enough away to not be hurt by them. This didn’t always work out as planned.
Upon graduation from Franklin High School, he moved to Baton Rouge and then on to Springfield, Missouri to attend Bible College where he earned a degree in Bible and Pastoral Ministries. He is a former Licensed Minister with the Assemblies of God Denomination and served unpaid in several churches in Arizona and Louisiana respectively.
At age 29 he married Christa Marie Nohl in Springdale, Arkansas after being introduced to her by a mutual friend. They had two children, Casslyn Elizabeth and Carly Virginia and were married for 14 years. Chet always acknowledged Christa as his best friend even after the marriage was dissolved in 2012.
Chet was a very insecure child and adult. He had a large amount of friends but always felt alone and lonely. He loved to tell stories. Some true and some not so much, most of them were funny and kept most people in stitches laughing. Chet was happiest when others were happy. He always said “I LOVE YOU” by doing things for you. He felt wanted and needed when he was doing projects for others.
He loved Interior design, Architecture, Landscaping, Singing and Traveling. His favorite color was purple. Many of you have “memories” of those talents in your home, businesses and hearts. He never felt that his work was adequate even when others assured him that it was. He was insecure in private but a lion at perfection in public.
Chet was passionate about issues and people that he believed in. He would not back down when he believed that he was protecting someone or himself. He was at times gentle enough to admit that he was wrong and corrected his course when necessary. This did not happen too often so don’t go thinking that he was a softy or something…
Chet wants each of you to know how much he loves you. He is so thankful for your friendship, support, mercy and grace. He never took your friendship and kindness for granted and if he did not get the chance to apologize and make it right with you, then he wishes to do so now. Chet loved you and cared for you the best way that he knew how. When he knew better, he did better.
Chet loves his THREE girls endlessly. Casslyn, you are the best Casslyn that a daddy could ever want. You are so creative and kind. I had no idea that I could discipline someone for behaving the exact way that I did when I was a kid. Laugh out loud! Carly, you are the best Carly that a daddy could ever want. You can do anything that anyone else can do. You are a tender spirit and don’t ever lose that quality. I had no idea that someone could talk, joke or laugh their way out of a spanking or punishment better than I did when I was a kid. You ladies are top-notch. I love you to the moon and back, To Infinity and beyond. Christa… You’re still you. A man couldn’t ask for a better best friend and a mother to his children. You are the hand that I reach for when I’ve lost my way.
Later in life at the age of 42 1/2, Chet accepted his authentic self. The fear, anxiety, shame, sadness and depression dissolved into truth, acceptance, love and confidence. While his circle of family and friends became fluid at this time, he was confident that he had done the most honest thing that he had ever done in his life. The secrets and lies were gone and with the absence of those, his heart was full of joy and his life was full of hope and promise. His relationship with Christa, Casslyn and Carly became deep and solid.
His final request was that there be no funeral. Instead he requested a service where the talents of others could be expressed and a big party to follow. He wished for his ashes to be thrown from a cruise ship. He loved to cruise! There must be a sea in heaven.
May God bless you and keep you. May God smile upon you, and bless you with gifts and talents, May God look you full in the face and cause you to prosper!
Go now and treat others like you wish to be treated. Practice Love, Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness and Acceptance.
I love you each individually.