Particularly, Celebrating life and Larry.
A few days ago, a dear friend, a wonderful Christian man passed away after a very short illness. In August, Larry was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer…..no warnings, no previous symptoms, no history of this awful cancer. And Larry, being one of the kindest, most caring people I have ever met, did not let it get him down.
Larry kept as active as he could for these last few months, never wavering in his faith and seizing every opportunity to tell and share his faith with as many as he could. I can unequivocally say …..that he and his sweet wife Melody, not only ‘talked the talk’ but ‘walked the walk’.
Larry loved restoring old cars. He started with an Austin Healey car body shell and parts in his garage. He never stopped working on it and with the help of friends, he was out there in the garage doing as much as he could until the very end….and it looked sharp! He was so happy with the candy apple red on the sides of the otherwise black sports car.
Larry was always smiling….when many of us were not, as seen in the pic below…Apologies to Melody and the Captain. (I try to make sure everyone is smiling in a photo)
Larry continued to socialize and attend church…. and the Captain and I would share dinners and dominoes, testimonies and tears and prayers…. with he and Melody.
But I must tell you that the tears were not of sadness, they were tears of celebration of their life and the journey which was coming.
The day Larry found out that options were few….we had them over for dinner and we sat and played dominoes afterwards.
Friends were calling him on his phone and he kept saying…”we have options” in the cheeriest voice he could muster.
At our annual Christmas Open House…Larry said he wouldn’t think of missing it…we were so glad he was able to come….with his ever present smile.
Larry loved Karaoke, and he and Melody have an extensive collection of songs and so Larry would call and ask us to come over and we would join a couple of their neighbors and we would sing songs.
I will never forget one of the evenings we were there in their home, shortly after Larry was diagnosed. It was a very small intimate group…neighbor Peter, the Captain and I, and of course Melody and Larry. They had a huge list of songs that was passed around …and we chose a song…and then Larry would bring the lyrics up on the television screen and each of us would sing. Each time it was Larry’s or Melody’s turn…they would pick a love song and literally sing it to each other….looking deep into each other’s eyes. It was beautiful to see the love they shared….and the peace that filled their hearts. It was also at one of these Karaoke nights that I sang Amazing Grace and they asked me if I would sing it when the time came. Larry said it was his favorite song….he also had it as his ring tone on his phone.
The Memorial Service was held in a “prayer” room across the hall from the sanctuary. Melody and I prayed together in that quiet room, early one morning… shortly after Larry was moved to Hospice.
The Memorial Service was special, not formal…just friends and relatives standing up and speaking of how Larry impacted their lives. As previously arranged… at the end of the service, I kept my promise and I stood up and sang Amazing Grace, A cappella.
Larry never stopped living….and he never stopped listening….he truly cared about people! What an Ambassador for Christ!
Psalm 116:15…Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones.