We cannot believe you have been gone five years. We miss you. So much has happened we wish we could have shared with you along the way. I know Sam misses calling you when he is on his way to conduct mental commitment hearings. He said so recently. It is always so early in the morning and he knew you would be up. Now, he calls me instead, so I get up. :) That is really ok, but Sam and I both know we would rather it be you.
We know we will see you again someday and at that point we probably will have more exciting things to do than ‘catch up.’ Meanwhile, let me just say, you live on through so many people who loved and cared deeply for you. You made such an impact on so many lives. We met a woman in Danville, Illinois a couple years ago, she told us how much you meant to her. You had performed her wedding ceremony when her own priest would not. She wanted you to know that you did a good thing, and she and her husband are still married after 40 some years. That’s one tiny story of many that people have shared with us over the past 5 years. You live on, through them.
You live on through Alli. She has your intense passion for people. The same people who Jesus had such passion for. All people. But especially the ‘least of these.’ She is driven to bring a little bit of heaven to earth. Sometimes her passion may get the best of her, but her sense of humor brings back the joy. Lately, I have seen signs that she is honing your ability to…, shall I say, ‘put people in their place’ with a love and kindness that helps them see what they can be, and gives them hope. You’d be proud.
You live on through Ariana. She has your way with words. She’s clever and creative that way. She thinks outside the box often and when someone tells her there are two ways to look at something, she finds a third way. Her heart breaks for the world as it is, yet she makes a difference with the light she brings into it. You’d be proud.
You live on through Samuel. He has your sense of humor and goofiness. He’s confident and self-assured and he knows how to recognize the person in the room that may need a kind word that day. He is generous and a natural born leader. He’s a deep thinker with a passion for spreading the love of Christ. You’d be proud.
Now go back and reread those 3 paragraphs and interchange their names. They each pretty much encompass all of that and more. The past 5 years they have come into their own. You’ve missed out on a lot. A lot of great conversation, thoughts and ideas and even some debate. You have also missed a lot of great food and deliciously beautiful cakes, via Alli & Ariana. Alli has had some very interesting jobs that you would have esteemed and enjoyed talking about. You may have understood her passion for inner city Baltimore better than any of us. Ariana would have loved you to visit New York. She would have loved having you and her Pastors together with her for an evening. They have picked up where you left off in NY (a Puerto Rican version of you with the same love and passion for people.) You would have loved visiting her at the International Culinary Center, especially since you always claimed to have taught Mimi everything she knew about cooking. As a young entrepreneur yourself, you would have enjoyed hearing about Samuel’s coffee roasting business. Samuel would have enjoyed sharing about his trip to Indonesia. Not to mention, you could have visited him at college. So many other things keep popping into my head. sigh.
I have to say, you did leave Sam with quite a mess to deal with initially. As unpleasant as that all was, you know hard and difficult times reveal true character, Sam really stepped up to the plate. We were so proud. Although I have always known him as a man of highest integrity, he handled things with such amazing grace and strength of character and was an a wonderful example to all, including his children. You would have been proud.
There is so much more I could say. Obviously, you know Joe died too soon after you. That left another big hole in the family. You should know though, that your grandchildren are all doing well. Your great grandchildren too. I know you would be proud of each of them.
You are missed.