Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I want to share some of the speeches from Aviana's memorial service with you. The following was by her Papa.

I want to thank you for coming today to honor Aviana.  For those of you who don't know me I am Aviana's Grandfather, better known as Aviana's Papa.

Aviana Reese Hodder took me totally by surprise!
The day I met Aviana she was almost a year old and had just arrived from Guatemala.  I can remember thinking to myself how nice it was that Jennifer and Dave adopted this cute little girl.  I could imagine all the wonderful times they would have together as a family.  I had no idea this beautiful little girl would soon take over my heart, and fill my soul with so much love, it was beyond comprehension. 

Brenda and I found ourselves spending as much time as possible with Aviana.  We often had her spend over-nights with us.  We took her everywhere.  We took her to parks, we took her shopping, and we showed her off to all our friends.  She filled our hearts with joy and made us laugh.  Everything was better when Aviana was with us.  She made an ordinary day come alive with her sweet personality, crazy antics, and loving ways.

Aviana was a loving little girl with a very unique personality.  Like all little girls she had an infinite amount of energy and curiosity.  Aviana also had a strong independent nature and liked to show you she could do everything herself.  That included being able to put on her own diapers at the age of 18 months.  She also had the ability to turn me into a complete marshmallow, and she knew it.  All she had to do was look at me with her big chocolate eyes and I would do anything she wanted, no questions asked.  Every time I looked deep into Aviana's soulful brown eyes I could swear I saw God looking back at me.  

Although the time we had with Aviana was painfully short, she still left us with a lifetime of memories.  I would like to share three of those memories with you today.

Aviana loved the water.  Many times when she was staying with Brenda and I, we would take Aviana to play in our homeowners association pool.  All I had to do is ask her if she wanted to go for a swim.  Without a word she would immediately disappear into her bedroom and would reemerge a minute later wearing her swimsuit, a float tube around her waist, and dragging a small air mattress behind her.  She would have a big smile on her face and say "Let's go Papa!!"

Another fond memory was the simple chore of Aviana walking with me to pick up the mail from the mailbox around the block.  When we got to the mailbox Aviana would insist on helping Papa by taking all the mail out of the mailbox and carry it back home.  On the way home, many times I would have to pick up pieces of mail that fell on the ground, as it would slip through her little fingers as she walked with me.

Last but not least, one memory I will never forget, was the day Brenda gave her retirement speech at Chevron headquarters in San Ramon.  Dave and Jennifer were there, along with Aviana, to celebrate the event.  The large hall was crowded with a lot of people.  Chevron was celebrating several  retirees.  Each retiree was to give their own presentation.  Everything went normally up to Brenda's presentation.  As soon as Brenda started speaking, a little girl's voice could be heard very distinctly coming from the back of the room.  Aviana was calling out very loudly, "NANA! NANA! NANA! All through Brenda's speech.  I enjoyed that immensely, knowing Aviana was her biggest fan. 

Then one day when Aviana was almost three years old, the wonderful times with her came to a tragic end.  That was the day Aviana and I got into a terrible accident.  We were hit by a car while crossing the street.  After the accident we tried everything to help her, but nothing worked.  For four and a half years Aviana's beautiful soul was trapped in a body that no longer worked.  There is no way I can describe to you the heartbreak and pain our family felt each day, especially on Aviana's birthdays and the many holidays that went by. The best we could do was to hold her, talk to her, and love her, so that's what we did!!  

Today I want to thank all the loving friends and family that supported and helped Jennifer and Dave through those very difficult times.  In particular I want to thank my brother-in-law Roger Remedios for being there for Jennifer and Dave every step of the way, and for generously giving his time every Friday, for four and a half years, to be with Aviana. 

Aviana is now in a better place.
Aviana's soul is at last free from the bondage of her broken body.
I pray she is with God looking down on us right now, saying in her little sweet voice "It's OK Mommy and Daddy, don't worry about me anymore.  I am alright now.  I am happy again."  

Thank You


  1. Oh man, what tears I am shedding. The love Papa had for her is so apprent through his words, I could almost hear her and see her! Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for sharing HER.

  2. I thought it was emotional listening to it during the service but seeing the written words and still hearing his voice in my head has just amplified the emotions.

  3. Oh my....what a beautiful tribute to Aviana.

    My heart aches....but also smiles because i know she is in heaven, running and playing with Kama.

  4. That was absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful Papa she was blessed with. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. What touching words and memories he shared. I had to go get a kleenex. The love of a Papa...