Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm Larry Sagers daughter. . .

I used the tag line because my sister had a song she made up and sings, which doesn't sound at all the same when typed out, but the lyrics are, "I'm Larry Sagers daughter, da, dah, duh, da, da dah. . ." See what I mean?

Larry Sagers is my dad. He passed away three weeks ago. When he first called and told me he was going in for exploratory surgery in his lungs, I cried myself to sleep because even then, I knew it was cancer. My family has a long history of it. Since that time he lived for 18 months more, a year more than he was given. There were many, many, many nights thereafter that I grieved. Some nights it was insomnia. Others found me lying in bed, tears dripping into my ears as I tried to cry silently so as not to wake my spouse.
A few months ago, my husband and I put in an edited for content movie called Black Book, which I had confused with Little Black Book; huge difference. In Black Book, the main character is a Jewish woman who, after her family is killed in front of her, begins working with the underground as a spy. Toward the end of the movie after many more people she loves are killed, she finds herself in the office of a doctor, who breaks the news to her that yet another loved one has been killed. She goes into hysterics. The scene terrified me, not because of all the killings and finding out that her trusted doctor friend was a traitor, but because a very logical part of me was worried that when my dad's last moments came, that was how I would react and that was how I would grieve and that I might never again appreciate the beautiful things of this life.
His death has had quite the opposite effect on me. I miss him. We went to the place where he worked up until his death the other day and visited a dinosaur museum. There was a new exhibit open. For a few seconds I couldn't wait to tell him about it because he would have loved it; especially the part where most of his grand kids were there that day. It is impossible to not feel a loss, yet the thing that has amazed me has been the accompanying peace. I know there are many out there that have prayed for me and my family. People who don't share a common religion. People who have never met me and some who never personally met my dad. I can only say it is working. There have been very few other times in my life when I have felt such a calming influence and a peace.
From those comments, some readers may think, "Well that is heartless!" Let me assure you I shed more than my fair share of tears and continue to have moments in which grief washes over me. I am very much a daddy's girl. He was my solice through most of my adolescent years before I realized what an amazing mother I have. I am just grateful to a Heavenly Father that knew how hard the deat of a father would be and He created the comforting spirit of the Holy Ghost so that sadness would not overwhelm me and be all that I would know.
The Tooele Transcript Bulletin, Deseret News, Salt Lake Tribune, and KSL news all ran articles on him that were so comforting to read. There were many other media venues who mentioned his life and his passing. I've loved looking at the pictures associated with each column because he looks so happy and so healthy.  It has been a remarkable tribute to read through comments posted in response to newspaper articles about him and through social media. . My favorite has to be the user who wrote in something about how he and his wife so loved Larry that they named their turtle after him.
His friend and KSL Greenhouse co-host, Tim Hughes, put together a memorial greenhouse that was broadcast the Saturday after his death. I cried through most of it, especially when I heard the sound of my dad's voice, but what a thoughtful tribute!
One of my favorite things and one of the most memorable things about his professional career was his tie collection. He had a tie to represent the content of each of the classes he taught as well as many others just for fun. On his passing, my sister and sister-in-law and I took about 2/3 of his "fun" ties and made these tie wreaths.

My favorite is that Larry the Cucumber is on the wreath next to his Utah State Extension tie. Fitting, right? (You have to look closely).

There are many other thoughts I've had about his life, his passing and how remarkable it was to have been born his daughter, but those thoughts I do not wish to make public. Instead I will finish by saying that he gained a lot of prestige in his professional career. He was known and respected by many. He earned a great many local and national awards and recognitions. And yet, all that pales in comparison to his greatest role, that of being my dad.


  1. I'll be honest, I only read the first paragraph of your blog post because I really can't handle reading what you were writing. I just wanted to say I think often of your family and how difficult the first several months are. Also, I wanted to tell you how wonderful I thought your talk was at the funeral.

    1. You should finish when you can handle it. It has a happy ending.

  2. I'm pretty sure I'm mostly in denial still. Kind of a, "I'm afraid I'll freak out when it really hits me, and I don't have time to freak out and don't want to scare my kids" sort of thing. So, I still haven't brought myself to listen to the radio tribute. I'll get there. It'll be good for me. But I am also feeling peace, all in all. I miss him. And I worry for Mom. But we'll make it.

  3. I too haven't listened to the radio broadcast, for some of the same reasons. I am not in denial as much as I forget that it happened. I have had the exact same feelings about "Oooh, I should tell Dad about XYZ!"... then I remember I can't...but I hope he knows anyway.