I knew him for a short time—perhaps a year. Even upon meeting him, from the start I could see that he was near the end of his journey. The years had accumulated around him and were starting to weigh him down. His walk was hesitant; his navigation abilities less certain.
“You remind me of my sister when she was younger,” he once said to me. I smiled and said ‘thank you,’ having no idea what aspect of my appearance or demeanor was so similar. But I knew his sister was no longer in this world.
I complimented his always-dapper appearance at church. He would often wear the beautiful purple shirt and matching tie with his dark suit. His eyes would smile with delight. He was a compassionate but proud man, and he wore his humanity on his sleeve for all to see.
Yesterday, amidst the rain and snow flurries, he was buried.
During the funeral service, the most moving portions were the testimonials of three of his twelve grand-children—all were young adults—all claimed deep love for him and were clearly products of his careful nurturing. They told tales of grandpa’s many skills and helpful nature; of how he had pitched in during their home repairs and computer problems. Who knew, even in his advanced years, that he was such a computer technician besides being a woodworker and general handyman?
I smiled frequently during their choked-up speeches hearing of his many abilities and caring nature–and even of his earlier motorcycling escapades. These were all aspects of Lester that I never knew—aspects that you didn’t see beyond his body’s more-current frailty during the short church services that I had attended with him.
After the service the large family all slowly filed past, following the casket as it was rolled out of the church and into the hearse to be taken to the burial area. We sang “Amazing Grace” to their parting processional, and I thought—Wow, that is the true sign of a life well-lived—how deeply this gentle man had affected those around him, especially his loving, close-knit family members.
Other than peripherally, I may not have truly known and appreciated you, Lester, but your loving family certainly did.
Well done sir!