Today we drove to Oklahoma to say goodbye to a good man. He is my husband’s uncle and the church was filled with people who loved him as much as we do.
I have a hard time saying “was,” because his life was vibrant.
A small man, but so big in personality and life.
We sat in the small country church and sang songs like, “How Great Thou Art,” and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” Then the lights dimmed and his life flashed on the screen.
A picture of young Leonard kissing his baby girl. A faded photo of him laughing with his wife. A picture of him with his two girls. Friends. Family.
As the movie of his life went on, time passed.
Grey around the temples.
His girls taller and older.
His wife a little plumper.
But the same smile.
Still kissing babies, but these were his grand babies. Pictures of him at the creek with his grandsons. His arms wrapped around the shoulders of a growing family.
Kissing his great-grandchildren and holding them close.
But it was the last picture that got me. It was a picture taken a week before his death. He was tenderly reaching to touch his wife of 62 years . . . who now struggles with advanced dementia.
You see, the twinkle wasn’t missing.
The same smile and tenderness was there that had not diminished over ages and hard places and aching bones and years gone by too fast.
The picture was taken by his grandchild, one of those he loved all his years. His grandchild, now a parent himself, snapped this photo never knowing it would be the last.
As Leonard’s life flashed before us, I prayed silently.
God, help me remember what matters.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes forget that it’s people that are going to matter most in the end.
Not awards or accolades. Not plaques or name recognition. Not my bank account. Not my glowing successes or achievements.
But how I loved.
So, kiss that husband. Tell that friend you appreciate her. Hold that child close. Put down your do-do-do list and just spend time with that loved one.
Love someone well today.
It’s what matters in the end.
Hi Suzie! I love this post. I recently lost my little sister. As I read your final thoughts on what really matters in life, I couldn’t agree with you more. My sister was young and care free, but she could love like nobody else. She never had a set criteria as to what someone should look or act like in order to show them love. In the last couple of weeks, I have heard from a variety of people on how she touched them with her acts of love. I think we all could use humbling reminders in our short life here on earth.. We have to love.. It is part of the legacy we leave behind.
Have a great day today and thank you for sharing this. I just wasn’t resting well, so waking up and opening this email was just so comforting.
Oh, Amber, I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so glad you joined me in the early hours of the morning. I love that your sister left such a legacy. I pray we all do the same.
Since I lost my Dad a little over a year ago, I have realized this more and more. Thanks for sharing this, Suzie. So powerful!
Hi Suzie, Your blog really hit home for me. My fun thing to do is clean house and I get very annoyed when people leave things around after I have just cleaned house.
Yet I am grateful that my mother is living with us ( my hubby and me) after my father’s passing but it is so hard. She is such a different person who has very different habits than me. You reminded me of the joy that is the important part of Mom living with us not the little stuff like glasses in the sink. I Pray God will help give me more patience in this coming year to love as he loves. Thanks for reminding us of what is important in life Suzie. Blessings to you and your family in the new year.
Even though this lesson has been etched into my heart some time ago, I find I can stray from it. I needed to hear this to bring me back to the present…to my husband who is home from work healing from surgery, to my boys who have gone back to school, to my friends who have gone back to work. This Christmas vacation was hard to give up yesterday when the kids went back to school. I was getting irritable, yes, but at the same time, I so enjoyed having them under my wing all day. 🙂 I thought the purpose of the “New Year” was to clean, declutter, simplify, make those resolutions, plan the future, etc. But while I was busy feeling pressured to do all of that, I slipped away from what really matters. Thank you, my friend, for bringing me back to where this mom/wife/daughter/friend needs to be.
A very simple and timely reminder, Suzie. My husband and I were talking about this very thing as we slipped off to sleep last night. Thank you!
I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful picture and it is most definitely the little things and the people we love that matters the most.
I’m so sorry for your loss Suzie. Thank you for this reminder.
You are very special to me Suzie. I truly thank God for you and Richard. Love you much your mother. Xxxooo
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