Sunday, May 18, 2014

A life well-lived

The morning was sunny and bright, but
by the time we all got to the cemetery the
clouds had rolled in and it was cold. 
I was texting with my daughter while waiting for the funeral service to begin yesterday afternoon. I told her that I'd overheard one of the staff say they'd run out of chairs. Her response is the subject of today's brief post.

We who were there yesterday didn't learn anything about our friend that we didn't already know. He was kind and generous, knowledgeable and loyal. Saying good-bye to a man like that is hard, my friends. Real hard. There are so few of them.

His parents – and oh, how sad I was for them – raised him right, simple as that. "Right" to them meant helping and giving and learning and working hard and he did all those things, every day, until he got too sick to do them any more.

My grandchildren knew Billy from their summer visits. My granddaughter came by herself a few years ago and practically before she got out of the car, Billy was there to take her on her first tractor ride. She baked him a batch of lemon bars to thank him. Her brother came with her the following summer and sure enough – he got his first tractor ride the first day of their visit. He also cut a path through the field where our pond is, unasked, so they could walk in to go fishing.

We could never repay him for his many kindnesses, or for rescuing us in true disasters. He brought a huge tank of water for us during the derecho, and cleared snow from the driveway countless times. Our gifts of home baked bread or brownies seemed like a paltry thank-you, but he would never take money and we wanted so much to reciprocate.

Had either of us known about the disease that eventually took Billy's life, we might have been able to share our stories. But we didn't know, not until he was on life support in a hospital two states away. Too late. Leaving both my husband and me helpless. And too sad.


Vickie said...

How weirdly ironic was that (the disease)?

Again so sorry for your loss. Sounds like the whole communities loss.

Susan F. said...

Thank you for this follow-up to your post yesterday.
My heart mourns for BIlly and so many who struggle in situations similar to his. You so subtly emphasized the truth that we can be complicated, yet wonderful. Billy was ”raised right” and I wish his disease had not overcome him. I think he was lucky to have had a friend like you.

Winnie said...

I am truly sorry for your loss and all those who loved Billy. What a true friend and good man and those memories you and others have of him will help him live on in your hearts. Yesterday was the anniversary of the loss of my baby brother who was 28 when he died. It was 10 years ago. He had demons that nobody could cure and no matter all we tried to do and places he went, he just couldn't beat the addiction for drugs. It was and will always be the saddest day of my life. I have lost a husband to cancer, and others, but the hopeless feeling I have and carry (and know I shouldn't) just lingers. Just remember what a good friend you were to him, as I know he was lucky to have you and your family in his life. Hugs to you!

Shauna said...

i'm so sorry debbi... sending you huge hugs from scotland.