I don’t really know where to start with this post, but I don’t feel like I can move forward here on my blog without it.  You see, a week ago today I was on a plane headed to Ohio to be with my family there.  My uncle, who had as big and round blue eyes as my Ol’ Blue Eyes and the most beautiful gray hair you ever did see, had succumbed to that which has no cure, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, at the young age of 68.  He was such a sweet man with the most wonderful attitude.  He never had a cross word to say about anyone.  I will miss him and his ornery self (and tales of how he lost part of his thumb) so much.  Our family is forever changed without him.  I took this picture two years ago as he was playing around with my niece.  He always let the kids come to him and was so gentle.  Despite his struggles with his disease, he was always cheerful and never complained.

uncle dick

I sat in my Aunt’s home and observed that among such sorrow lies deep beauty.  The way family holds onto one another and sobs. The way we hug and don’t say a word.  The way a son and daughter come up around their mother and check on her throughout the day.   The way prayer abounds from the lips of my grandparents.  Consoling talks with a sister.  Hugs from grandkids.  Invitations for breakfast, cards, gifts of memorials and kind words spoken in memory of our loved one are all sad yet beautiful because at the core of it all we have the hope of heaven.  All of us are believers; therefore we know this mourning is temporary because Christ came and defeated death.  That is our comfort.  Christ’s love and our family’s love is beautiful.

We gather around the table.  We laugh and tease and all the while we know how much he would’ve loved everyone being there and seeing …

a mother visit with her son before he leaves again for the Army…

comfort from the smallest dog

hugs from a nephew…

smiles from his father in law who was another father to him…

a sister who has shared parents, brother, history and so much more…

and despite puffy and tired eyes, we all smile because love comes up all around and only sees the heart.

I’m the lucky one. I’m (mostly) behind the camera watching it all unfold.  The unseen observer who sees love all around me.  I am a keeper of memories, spoken and captured.  Despite such huge loss, from what I see, my heart is full.

It’s true what they say, that life is for the living.  We carry on and we will remember, we will see, we will smell, we may even hear a nudge that seems it’s him nudging us one way or another.  Sometimes I think the veil between heaven and earth is just a dimension away that can only be viewed with the eyes of our soul.  Atleast that’s the way I like to think of it.  A breath away.

I loved my uncle.  He will be so missed.  I love to look up name meanings and see how those envelope and fold around the people I know.  I think of what Ann Voskamp said in her book 1000 Gifts.

“Now, in the Bible a name reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift to name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God.  To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.’

Richard (Strong, Powerful)  Lee (Shelter, Healer)  Teet (Glad, Cheerful)

These meanings fold up around him well.  Thank you God for our time with him and for this gift of him.  Thank you for the beauty that can be found despite suffering and hurt and most importantly, thank you for the promise of heaven.

And if you’re reading this, I love you Aunt Linda.  XOXOXO

  1. Tammy says:

    Kelly…You said it perfectly. There was tears and yet there was laughter that day around the table. And I to believe God was sitting in the center of it all. God spoke right through you with those most touching words. Thankyou for that. Rick will love it. 🙂 Love you! Tam

  2. My Punks Mom says:

    Love you too Tam! Even in such great loss, God is always good. That never changes. If we can hold onto that perspective, we’ve won a huge battle here on earth. Easy to say, so hard to do when we hurt. Tell Rick and the girls I love them too.

  3. Aunt Linda says:

    Kelly, What a great tribute to Uncle Dick it was all so true he was a man no one will ever forget I miss him so. God is good & so glad we have him to hold onto. Love you so much Aunt Linda

  4. Lisa says:

    I loved reading your sweet reflection on life, living, and loss. I completely and undeniably confirm our lost loved ones are still so very close, even though their physical presence may be absent. Bless you and your family, especially your sweet Aunt!

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