Saturday, January 6, 2024

Losing a friend

We lost a friend a few weeks ago, just before Christmas.

In our old home, we attended a small church for many, many years. One of the families attending that church had two sons almost the exact same age as our girls. The children became fast friends and grew up together.

Because this family lived in one town and we lived outside another, we would often meet at the "halfway point" (as we called it) to swap kids whenever our children had a play date.

The parents of these kids were highly respected in town. The mother recently retired after teaching math at the high school for decades, and her students loved her. The father (Randy) worked at a local hardware store, and he was the go-to guy whenever a customer had a technical question. It's hard to describe how well-liked both people are in the community. Even after moving away three years ago, our kids kept in touch with their kids.

Randy passed away on December 15 after an illness lasting several months. We were stunned.

The older son asked Older Daughter if she could house-sit their pets for a few days while he and his wife attended his dad's memorial service. After returning from the trip, the son described the circumstances. Apparently our old church (where the memorial service was held) was standing-room only. The store where he worked for 20+ years closed for half a day so all employees could attend.

It's tragic beyond words that our friend passed at a relatively young age (66 years old), but there is comfort in knowing how well loved he was. Through years of humble service and absolute dedication to his family, he earned the love and respect of everyone.

Really, when you think about it, there is no finer epitaph.

Rest in pace, Randy. You are missed.


  1. So sorry for your loss. I came across the following poem a couple decades ago, saved it, even though I’m not a poetry person, thinking I’d like it read at my funeral, or at someone else’s. I read it at my mom’s. May you find comfort in it.

    STAGES by Herman Hesse

    As every flower fades and as all youth
    Departs, so life at every stage,
    So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
    Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
    Since life may summon us at every age
    Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
    Be ready bravely and without remorse
    To find new light that old ties cannot give.
    In all beginnings dwells a magic force
    For guarding us and helping us to live.
    Serenely let us move to distant places
    And let no sentiments of home detain us.
    The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
    But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
    If we accept a home of our own making,
    Familiar habit makes for indolence.
    We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
    Or else remain the slaves of permanence.
    Even the hour of our death may send
    Us speeding on to fresh and newer spaces,
    And life may summon us to newer races.
    So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.

  2. As long as they are honored with fond thoughts our lost are never forgotten.

    We will meet them again.

  3. I heard something the other day that struck me in my heart. While everyone gets to be young, not everyone gets to be old. It was poignant. While those of us lucky enough to grow old, it is the stage of our lives when we start losing more than we gain. I so sorry to hear of this loss for your family and the community at large.

  4. Love never dies.
    One day we will fully embrace all of our loved ones in the most perfect way because death will be no more.
    Love itself is the greatest testimony of eternal life.