Bianca Vocke Laid To Rest

December 17, 2007

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In Honor of Bianca Laura Jean Vocke

Notes from a remembrance delivered at her funeral on Saturday, December 15, 2007 by Greg Orwoll:
It is my honor to welcome you here this morning. I see in the entry way of this beautiful church this morning a poster for a program called 'Hands Around the World'. It reminds me of what Bianca has done. Her journey has been followed and she and her family have received support from literally around the world. It has been astounding, overwhelming and humbling. We see an internet site called 'facebook' an area called 'Pray for Bianca' that friends put up that now has over 1,200 members. There are 119 photos of Bianca posted on it. There are 338 messages for her and her family posted on it.

As of this morning, I have received at the Colts office via our web site, and delivered to B and her family, 479 messages of support. They came from literally around the world. The emt who treated her at the accident site has called and sent his support and sympathy. The doctor who first treated her and stabilized her at the first hospital sent an email that was truly astounding  sending his sympathy, remarking on what an amazing young lady she must have been as he has followed our web site and facebook. He also included in his message a moving and powerful plea to young people everywhere, from his perspective that he asked that we share in her honor. We have and we will continue to distribute this message to young people far and wide. Each of the 300 young people who are here auditioning for the Colts this weekend have received a copy, with instructions to distribute it to everyone they know. It is a message and a lesson from B, and it will make a difference to many. Nurses who treated her are here from Iowa City. We had 14,000 visits to our web site from 17 countries in three days.

Look at all of us here together today - Senior High and senior color guard. Friends and family from far and wide. Her Colts family. Did this incredible outpouring happen just because someone young and wonderful passed away tragically? Did this groundswell happen just because someone was in drum corps and color guard and high school? No. It happened because it was Bianca. I have no doubt that B was in charge this whole time, and I have no doubt that B brought us all together today for a reason. She also gave us the time we needed with her and with each other before she left. In these amazing letters I received for her and her family, I saw many constants:
Her smile
Her beautiful eyes
Her determination
Her talent
Her joy
Her courage
Her fight
Her drive
Her attitude
Her love of life
Her many important friendships
How she would light up a room with her smile and her personality
How show would light up a stadium with her presence and her performance

I was struck by the number of people who called her a best friend. I heard from a drum corps fan who, who when he saw her photo, recognized her immediately as the young lady he watched light up the entire Rose Bowl for him at DCI finals this summer. Bianca pulled together thousands of people in a common bond all over the world and made some amazing things happen. How many extra hugs between parents and children happened all over the world because of this and because of her? How many indestructible teenagers did she save by instilling a pause in them before they make a bad choice? How many broken relationships are being mended because of her reminder that life is short and life is fragile? I heard from a couple of people who did just that because of her lesson.

She taught us to tell each other what we think and to value each other more. Bianca left each of us a better person for having known her. Her sister said a big worry she had was she didn't think she had many friends... Look around here. What can we learn from that? How did she not know? Think how many people she affected by her sheer joy of living. She was a star but she was too humble to believe it.

Bianca Vocke, 1990-2007

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on her tombstone that mark the beginning and the end. He noted that first came the date that was her birth, and then spoke of the second date with tears. But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between the years. For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth, and now only those who loved her know what that little line was worth. What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash. So think about this long and hard. Are there things you'd like to change? For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. Perhaps be less quick to anger and quicker to show appreciation and friendship, and love the people around us as we have never loved them before. If we tell each other that we love them - and more often wear a smile - remembering that our special dash may only last a little while. When all is said and done, will you be proud of how you spent your dash?

Bianca can be proud of how she spent her dash.

It was my honor to get to know her family through this ordeal. I can see where she came from. To you all, our sympathies and thanks. Jean, Jay and John, you raised an amazing young lady who has affected and changed every person here. Thank you. All who knew her loved her, and all she knew she loved. Thank you Bianca for how you lived your wonderful life, and thank you for sharing it with us. When we think of Bianca and her short but amazing life, I'm sure what she would want us to think.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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