On awakening this morning my thoughts ran first to him. I wondered if I would hear news today, and if it would be the news I knew I did not want to hear. Then the phone rang, and it was still early. I gathered myself and prepared my heart. It was my mom calling, I didn't need to to know what she would say. Somehow as much as I didn't want to hear those words, I could embrace them solely because I knew he was at peace. Yet my heart felt the grief, the heavy sorrow that comes with a loss like this. And more than my own grief. I felt the weight of the grief of all involved in Harry's precious life. I imagined them all together as he passed on, and oh how my heart broke. To watch a loved one go has got to be one of life's most perplexing experiences. And I began to think of all the challenges that each member has faced and will face, and I couldn't bear the hurt I knew they are carrying. The brokenness. So I wept for them, and I wept for sweet Harry who still had years of life he could have lived. Yet somehow, I bet he is happier now. As I prayed over the picture I have of him, I noticed a sadness in his face. Like he was somewhat empty or tired. Life had had it's course in him. Yet it was a sweet life. A life full of many cherished moments I am sure. He was a strong man. A beautiful person. Full of love. Hugs and laughs.
Harry was one of those Uncle's you just wanted to be around. He made life fun and interesting. I remember as a child Harry would tickle torture all the nieces and nephews. I mean torture. He would tickle you so bad you'd be crying and begging. "Please!" "Don't!" "Stop!" Those would be the only words you could utter through screeching laughter pains. He'd say, "Don't stop, okay", and then he go at it all the more intensely. Oh my, such the tease! He was a feisty one!
He was the kind of uncle who wasn't afraid to be honest and open with you, even if you hadn't seen him in years. He knew things. He asked questions and he loved by so doing. I never felt judged by him, even if he did not understand my choices.
He was also generous. Generous with his life when he was with you. I remember last year just being with him was so wonderful. He hugged and hugged me so much. He laughed and laughed, but he also felt deeply even amidst his joyful banter, you knew his heart was so big and he carried such a big heart for the people he loved.
Something interesting about Harry, that I only found out later in life, was that he was briefly a preacher. All my life I had known him to be a truck driver. I wish I could have asked him more about the days when he was a preacher. I can only imagine though now.
He was not religious or stuffy. I remember when Harry would pray for dinner, he'd pray short and sweet. Thanks God for the grub!! He did not put on airs. He knew it was time to eat, and left the serious praying for other occasions. Ha! I loved that about him!!
Harry had such life in him. That man went through more surgeries on his heart than anyone I know of. He had to have stint after stint after stint put in his heart - yet somehow, he always came out alive and kicking.
Recently Joyce and Harry came up our way. They had a high school reunion to go to in Corning, New York. So they flew here and rented a car to go up, but spent some time with us on the way back. I am SO thankful! Though it was brief, I will treasure that time forever. On their last day with us, Harry and Joyce walked into town and visited me at work. As they left, they both hugged me and told me they were praying for me, knowing the challenges I faced in life at the moment. I could tell they truly cared. Harry and I decided we'd like to keep up the rate of seeing each other every year. I guess I will have alot of time to catch up with him when I get to heaven.
I feel through all of this God is doing big things in me. I am not a cryer typically. Yet these days, tears flow so freely. My tears are not so much for me, they are for everyone else who loved Harry even more than me. For those who were so intricately entangled in his life, day in and day out. My dear sweet aunt. Oh I can't bear to see her left alone. I can only picture them together. There were such a pair. They displayed a genuine love for one another, they held such equity with one another. You could just tell there were no regrets between them. I appreciate that. A union like that is hard to come by. They were blessed.
So today as I mourn, I think about life. Life. It is so precious! Yet so fleeting. I want so much to make life matter, to cherish all the times with all the people I encounter and all the people I love. So many thoughts tumble about in my mind. So many valuable thoughts on life and it's journey. It's just too huge the implications of one person's life! One person can make such a huge impact on us, and upon the world we are a part of. I want to see the beauty in people all the more. I want to value others and who they are all the more. I want to love freely all the more!!!
To Uncle Harry, may you rest in the peace you have now entered - may you celebrate the race you have run now that the prize is yours!! You are loved and you will be missed, but I know being with Jesus is far greater than anything you have ever known!!!