Tuesday, February 28 , 2017, 3:02 am | Fair 47º


Local News

Life of Daisy Love Merrick Celebrated with Laughter and Songs, As Well As Tears

8-year-old daughter of Reality Church pastor remembered for cheerfulness, courage and faith, not for the cancer that killed her

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from Daisy Love Merrick’s memorial service.]

The Santa Barbara community came together Saturday afternoon to mourn the loss of a little girl gone too soon. Daisy Love Merrick, who died Feb. 16 at age 8, was remembered by a joyful and beyond-capacity crowd at a Reality Church memorial service.

More than 1,200 people crowded into the Santa Barbara City College Sports Pavilion, where the church holds Sunday services, to celebrate Daisy’s life. Pastor Britt Merrick lost not only a valued and inspirational congregation member, but also his own precious daughter.

Daisy battled cancer bravely for the past three and a half years.  As her mother, Kate Merrick, wrote on the PrayForDaisy.com website a week ago, “Daisy Love Merrick went to be with Jesus. She was sleeping and in no pain.” Her parents are confident that she left this world happy and content as she spoke her last words in her sleep, “That’s awesome.”

The family requested that people “wear what you feel best in; sandy feet and boardshorts, tutu and snorkel mask, or the prettiest dress in your closet.” The well-wishers responded in force. Laughing with tears in their eyes, church members and others came together and showed their appreciation and respect for “the strong, kind, brave, goofy, thoughtful, amazing girl we call Daisy Love.”

Daisy’s journey was followed closely by the world community, as well, so much so that Saturday’s service was simulcast live on the website. Many traveled to Santa Barbara to participate, each with a personal Daisy Love story, including church members from Reality Los Angeles, San Francisco, Stockton and Boston.

Britt Merrick was last to speak Saturday. He thanked “Daisy’s supporters all around the world,” her doctors and “most of all you nurses. Where would the world be without you nurses?” he asked.

The Reality Church band played inspirational and uplifting songs especially for Daisy, including one written for her, entitled “Daisy’s Song.” The composer and singer said he wrote it for “the bravest little girl I’ve ever known.” When referring to their deep faith, the song says, “We are not going to be afraid because this love is stronger.”

Click here to watch for Britt Merrick’s Feb. 10 sermon, “When Sparrows Fall.”

— Valorie Smith is a Santa Barbara freelance photojournalist and frequent Noozhawk contributor. Click here to see more of her work.

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