My family is very small. When we suffer a loss, it has a huge impact. Last Friday, my uncle departed this life for a well-deserved rest in the hereafter. I’m so glad I was able to be immersed in his final weeks. It was sweetly ironic that he left us on my last official day of teaching.
Yes, my uncle was elderly and yes, I understand we all must pass from this life at some point; but, my uncle’s legacy is unparalleled. He wasn’t wealthy, or famous. He didn’t invent anything or save anyone from a burning building. His life was lived simply and in an unassuming fashion. But he went to the beyond known as “the guy who never uttered an unkind word about anyone.” To me, that’s priceless.
And the last many years of his life were not easy. He endured many illnesses, operations, and in this past year a few strokes. Yet, none of this diminished his hope for the future and he never complained.
During his last weeks, I was in and out of his house several times each day. At any point when I greeted him, his first concern was to ask me if I was okay. He was selfless. He routinely thanked his visitors, home health aides and the hospice nurses. His gratitude was genuine. If I gave him a sip of water, he thanked me. In watching his demise, I gained strength and renewed passion for my own life.
And so, when we laid him to rest yesterday it was fitting that one of the readings came from 2 Timothy 4:7...”I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;…” And thus went a great man to his God. Rest in Peace, Uncle Bill, and watch over us.