By Greg Price
As trying as the process is, it is often in death we get a reminder on the importance of how life is spent.
That was never more evident than when I attended the funeral service of Montana Halvorson at the Taber Agri-Plex last week.
In all my years at the Taber Times, I’ve never had an overly strong connection to the riding community with my coverage.
But still, I don’t know of feeling such a strong connection than witnessing the tribute to the young life taken far too soon from a riding accident, with what I witnessed.
A close-knit community seen like no other, with approximately 900 people attending the service, with a packed parking lot filled with people with love packed in their hearts from the impact Halvorson had.
A fitting service and celebration reception that saw cherished horses leading the way in the service that was standing-room only and eloquent words spoken by Shelly Bassett.
The riding community looked after each other with a potluck supper that spanned three lengthy tables that could have fed an army.
Although only really knowing the Halvorson family through word of mouth, my eyes were beginning to water mere moments into remembrance.
It certainly does not get any easier in any funeral I have attended for members of the Taber community or personal ones of family and friends.
It triggered memories of my own lost ones, showing how much life can be fleeting, but also treasured as shown by the path Halvorson had chosen in her love of rodeo, having been a member of the Chinook Rodeo Association, and competed in numerous barrel racing jackpots.
Halvorson took life full speed in her love of horses that rural life affords, in the appreciation of all the little things that make life beautiful, peaceful and serene.
Those cherished moments recounted of Halvorson’s life brought memories flooding back for myself of family and friends now departed.
A former Taber Times editor I was able to cut my teeth under in the journalism profession, grandfathers and grandmothers on both sides, uncle and aunts that have served more like fathers and mothers in my life as my own personal flashbacks were filled with tears, wishing I could still re-live some of those memories in the present with these lost ones by my side.
Certain mannerisms, heart-to-hearts over a beer or scotch, moments both tough and easy in my bloodlines and friendship circles that I’m sure those hundreds of people who had a closer connection to Montana in remembering her thoughtful spirit, also had in cherished memories.
That circle was a very large one for Halvorson who was just shy of her 21st birthday, but nevertheless lived many lifetimes in the impact she had for those around her.
However old a person is in their passing, there is an unintentional comfort that can be felt that there will always be a tomorrow in the appreciation we show one another. It’s a loving bond of invincibility in the comfort we have to those who have specially touched our lives.
Funerals remind us of our vulnerability, but also serve as affirmation that those times lived with the departed were moments well spent.
Hearing the stories recounted of Montana, she was a young lady who truly invested everything in her passions, be it her family, her friends and the things that were important to her.
It served as a reminder to all of us, whatever our station in life, be it urban or rural, sports or arts, science or philosophy, blue or white collar, life is truly cherished in so many different ways as we search for meaning.
As I looked through the program filled with pictures of Montana for the funeral service, it was the poem on the last page that caught my eye and should very well resonate with anyone in their walk of life.
Why Do I Ride
Because when I look at my horse,
I see my hopes and dreams.
When I touch my horse,
I feel joy and serenity.
When I ride my horse,
I connect with my soul.
When I am with my horse,
I am who I am meant to be.
If these are not words to live by in following whatever is closest to one’s life in their interests, passions and love, then I do no know what are.
The world needs more philosophies like this…the world needs more Montanas.
Although I never really knew you Montana Halvorson, in but those brief moments last Wednesday at the Taber Agri-Plex, your message resonated to me loud and clear, that a life filled with passion in those things you pursue in life, is a life well lived, no matter how long or short.