Richard (Rick) Norling * 4/19/53 - 8/11/21

My dear dad passed away on August 11, 2021 at 6:59pm from COVID. He fought hard, but his body could not withstand the havoc COVID wreaked on his body. My brother and his wife and myself (my husband stayed with our kids) were at the hospital to say goodbye. If you haven’t experienced the pain of needing to tell the hospital staff it is ok to stop life support, let me tell you that it is the absolute worst thing you will ever have to do. With all the safety measures in place, we were not able to go into his room to say goodbye. We needed to be outside his room, talking to him through an iPad through his glass, double-secure-entry room. His wife, who had also tested positive, was not able to be there. She had to be home, saying her goodbyes through a screen. It was devastating.

I beg you to get the vaccine if you can. My dad was not vaccinated. He was fearful of all the misinformation that is out in the world. I wish we could have convinced him. I wish he was still here with us. The pain and anger and sadness I feel everyday is awful. Knowing my dad could still be here and constantly seeing and hearing people badmouth the vaccine and masks and their “rights” breaks my heart. I truly hope you don’t have to experience what I am feeling right now.

We had a celebration of life for him recently and I wanted to share what I read at his memorial service. I am so heartbroken that I needed to write something for his funeral, but I know he would have wanted me to. I love him dearly and miss him so very much.

Hello. I am Rick’s daughter, Andi. Or as he liked to call me, Mo. I am certain it will be impossible for me to get through this without crying, so bear with me while I do my best to honor my wonderful dad.

How can we only be given a few minutes to sum up the life of a man like Rick? He grew up in a home filled with love and music. Some of my earliest memories of us include driving around listening to oldies. He would give me a nickel if I knew the name of the song and a dime if I knew the artist and the song name. I actually did pretty well. I am certain my 5-year-old self would kick my butt today.

I remember frequent motorcycle rides, lots of fishing and when I got older, teaching me to drive a stick shift car because he said everyone should know how. And then getting pulled over with him because he thought a parking lot wasn’t sufficient training. I also remember he would take me to his Structure Tech office and I would help put reports together and help with radon testing. He was so proud of the company he founded and later would still get to be part of.

I remember how family events revolved around food and laughter. His mother would always make us a special meal of our choice for our birthdays. And he continued that tradition. I am going to miss him bringing me big batches of twice baked potatoes. But I’ll admit I didn’t hang on to all the family traditions. I’m sorry dad, but I won’t be making Swedish sausage for Christmas this year, but I promise I WILL make krumkake cookies.

As the years went on, I became my dad’s confidant through tough times and happy times and someone he would call upon for advice. That may seem backward, but he was always so proud of me and my brother. He always said he valued our opinions and thoughts. So it didn’t come as a surprise that we became really good friends over the years.

And with all friends, your relationship ebbs and flows as life changes. My dad and I were no different. We didn’t always see eye to eye, and many times he made me crazy, but even if we got into a heated argument, we would eventually talk it through. Neither of us wanted to back down because we are both incredibly stubborn, but we would agree to disagree or come to some understanding and all would be fine. It’s been quite a transition for me to not have him to talk to constantly - about the important things and the mundane.

My dad was the first one I would call almost every time I was driving alone in the car. I talked to him on the phone more than anyone else. Yes, even my husband. We would check in with each other, chat, complain, vent, laugh, or argue. But no matter what we talked about, two things were certain - our talks were never quick and he was always there to listen.

To say my dad was a people person is an extreme understatement. You knew him. He liked to talk. That is definitely a trait I inherited from him. (And I’ve shortened this quite a bit!)

He would always tell you he loved you, hug you or make a joke so you would laugh anytime he saw or talked to you. Many times I would roll my eyes at the same jokes, but would give anything to hear them just one more time. He had a very special way of making you feel appreciated, important, loved and seen.

Our youngest kid, Alex, has many of my dad’s same loving characteristics. He will tell you “I hope you have a great day” or just randomly tell you he loves you or give you hugs. My dad would be so proud of that.

My dad was elated to be a grandpa. He would laugh with the kids and was their cheerleader at all their sports or activities. He even flew across the country to play with them and help out when we moved to Seattle.

Our oldest kid, Maddie, recently started playing the saxophone and he was thrilled that she chose an instrument he also played. She is planning to write a song for him one day. And our middle child, Dannie, thought he was so funny and would always laugh the hardest at his jokes which made his day! And my sweet niece, Natalie, loved him so much and was the newest apple of grandpa’s eye.

He loved giving the kids loud, musical cards. Partly because the kids got such a kick out of them and partly because he thought it was hilarious that I thought they were annoying. Of course, I brought my dad 5 of those cards to the hospital. He’s not the only jokester.

My dad always dreamed of leaving a legacy. He wanted to be remembered and be loved. And all of you here today, the stories you have shared about him with us and how he touched all of our lives, show that he will be leaving an amazingly, memorable legacy.

My dear dad has touched SO many people’s lives. He loved with all his heart, in the biggest way possible. His smile and laugh were so incredibly contagious and could light up the room or your day. I know that he wouldn’t want us to be sad today, but joyous for the life he lived and this life that he loved so much.

This doesn’t feel real. Saying goodbye doesn’t feel right, or fair, or even ok. He was taken from us far too soon. I miss him so very much and would give anything for one more hug, one more phone call, one more “I love you”.

To help memorialize my dad, I ask you to do the things he was known to do. Tell someone you appreciate them. Take a couple extra minutes to befriend a stranger. Tell a joke just to make someone laugh and smile. Play a favorite song - and maybe sing along in a funny voice. Be there to lend a helping hand no matter the situation. Hug your friends and family. And make sure everyone you encounter knows that they are loved.

I want to leave you with this poem by Rupi Kaur entitled “rest in peace”:

i am sorry this world
could not keep you safe
may your journey home
be a soft and peaceful one