Wanda Harder’s Tribute to Valerie Joy Herzler for her memorial service on June 19, 2014
My precious Valerie,
We’ve been friends ever since you moved in across the road in 1975, and I’ve always called you my sister. It’s so hard to put into words who you were to me and how much I will miss you. I’ve spent the past few days going through old photos and replaying thousands of memories. Memories of:
- climbing trees on the hill
- endless craft projects
- wandering all over Park View
- crazy costumes
- baking experiments
- setting up hilarious obstacle courses with Doug in your basement, like putting on your dad’s waders and timing each other as we ran around completing a series of tasks
- hiking with my family
- just talking
- listening to my Larry Norman albums
- letters across the miles when we weren’t in the same country
- laughing—a LOT
- being in each other’s weddings
- being pregnant at the same time
- playdates when Casey & Joseph were little
- walking with each other through the loss of a parent
- lunches at Dave’s Taverna and Blue Nile
- shopping – You helped me pick out this dress last winter for a wedding. It certainly was NOT intended for this occasion.
For all the time we spent together, I can’t believe that there are so few photos of the two of us. (Don’t worry—that photo of us in our Wonder Woman costumes will never become public.) We just weren’t into photos. We were into being friends and spending time together.
You were always content to stay in the background, but you possessed such grace and wisdom. You cared deeply about people, and you were such a wonderful listener. As we’ve shared the ups and downs of life and wrestled with issues of faith and parenting together, I’ve so appreciated your thoughtful insights, your integrity, and your prayers. You forgave me for the many times I was a too-bossy big sister. You always laughed at my jokes. Thank you for blessing my life with your sweetness. I will miss you. You will always be my sister.