6-year-old girl invites passerby, dog to father’s funeral
GREENWOOD, Ark. - Six-year-old Raelynn Nast wanted to help greet mourners outside her father’s funeral last month, but instead, she befriended a passerby and her dog and brought them inside, bringing comfort to the family.
Raelynn’s father, Davey, recently died from colon cancer at the age of 41. His service took place at McConnell Funeral Home in Greenwood, Arkansas, on April 28.
While outside with her cousins, Raelynn spotted and approached Emily Beineman, who was jogging by the funeral home with her Labrador, Blue.
"She was walking down the street, and I asked her if I could pet the dog and she said yes," Raelynn told FOX Television Stations on Tuesday.
Raelynn then asked Beineman if she wanted to come into the funeral home and see her dad. Beineman agreed and followed Raelynn inside.
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When asked why she wanted Beineman and her dog to meet her dad, Raelynn responded, "Because they seemed nice."
Meanwhile, Raelynn’s mother, Lacey, was already inside the funeral home and had no idea what had just taken place.
"It’s one of those experiences I don’t think I could ever forget," Lacey told FOX Television Stations. "I was just sitting there, visiting with some family, and in comes my daughter with a complete stranger."
"She just said that Raelynn wanted her to meet her dad and asked me if that was OK," Lacey continued.
While Blue stayed in the back of the building, Raelynn escorted Beineman to her father’s casket.
Lacey said she wasn’t surprised Raelynn invited a complete stranger to a funeral, saying she gets her outgoing personality from her father.
"Raelynn has always been extremely sociable and personable," she explained. "She took that after her dad. It seemed like anywhere he went, he would always find someone to talk to."
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Lacey believes her late husband had something to do with the touching moment given a few coincidences. The dog’s name was Blue. Her late husband’s favorite color was blue. Blue is also the color of the colon cancer ribbon.
"I think this was his way of telling her [Raelynn] that he’s still here, and he’s going to be looking down on her and guiding her through this process," Lacey said.
The mother said she didn’t get a chance to connect further with Beineman on the day of the funeral. But since then, they have met up and are arranging another play date with Blue and Raelynn.
"For me, it’s all about kindness," she continued.
Lacey has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral and medical expenses and an Amazon wishlist for the couple’s two young daughters. She also wants her story to raise awareness about colon cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, it’s the country’s third-leading cause of death with nearly 53,000 people expected to die from the illness this year.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.