January 17,2008 is a day of sadness for me yet a day of peace. Uncle Billy took his last breath on earth and stepped onto heaven's shore. I know one day I will know what that is like, what it feels like, what the veiw will be like. Though He is no longer suffering he is being missed. Yesterday January 26, 2008 was his memorial service. Memories on picture boards, the sent of roses and lilies filled the room, and you could hear the broken hearts and the laughter of memories here and there. We started off the service with prayer and then I stood up and introduced myself and read my speech. I couldn't even get the first few words out without the tears spilling from my eyes. My speech went a little like this...
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14
This is a verse I have read and have heard here and there over the last few years. This verse never became so real to me than the day I received the news of Uncle Billy’s passing. You don’t know when it will come. The day you step into eternity. My memories of Uncle Billy are those of a man who was full of life. He always had a smile on his face and laughter in his eyes. The chuckle that still rings in my ears today is unforgettable. The tight hugs he always gave and the fun you would always have when you were around him. I remember the day I was standing at the bus stop and he came pulling up to leave and rolled down his window and said ANN MARIE GUESS WHAT? And I smiled and said “what?” and he said I’M GETTING MARRIED TODAY. I remember the many times Bill and Brian would go fishing and how they enjoyed working on the car. I remember when Brenda was born and the though I was just a child myself I remember how happy he was to be a daddy. Then Christina came along and boy it was at first glance and they both had him wrapped around their pinkies. Then Shelly, the twinkle in his eye, daddy’s girl. Each child held such a special place in his heart and you knew it. He would light up when they would run in a room saying “daddy”. I remember the million push ups and sit ups he would make us do, I remember the trips to the park and the years we’d go to see the blue angels fly through the sky, I remember the times on the farm when he’d go out with us and help us fly our kites, or go fishing at the pond at night, or crabbing at the pier. He always worked hard to make sure his family was taken care of. I will miss him dearly but I am thankful he is no longer suffering. I know he is watching down on us and is cheering us on as we go through our days. Tina, I know its hard, I know this doesn’t seem fair, but know we are here for you and the girls. Brian, Brenda, Christina and Shelly as you sit here and hear all these memories we shared with your father, remember, he always wanted the best for you, he always wanted you to make a difference in this world, you can’t let him down.
The following is a poem written by an unknown author.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me
When tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see;
If the sun should rise
and find your eyesAll filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and
called my name,
And took me by the hand,
And said my place was ready,
In Heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say goodbye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through Heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and
smiled at me,From His great golden throne,
He said "This is eternity,
And all I've promised you."
Today for life on earth is past,
But here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
and since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past.
Buy you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were timesyou did some things,
You knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven
And now at last you're free.
So won't you take my hand
And share my life with me?
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.
As I read this I could hear Shelly (his youngest she's only 9) crying and I looked up to see my dad comforting her, there was my Aunt and her other daugther brenda with tears in their eyes holding the ashes of my uncle. My hear broke for them and as I finished I prayed that God would save their souls. My mom then read a poem and said some sweet words, then a friend of Billy's got up and talked about how much billy loved his family, then one of his brothers got up and said some words and then Tim (my husband) got up and gave the plan of salvation. Tim said 7 people raised their hand accepting salvation one of them being Uncle Billy's Oldest daugther. PRAISE THE LORD!! what a joyful time in such a sorrowful moment.
It is still hard today to understand he's really gone. I watched the hurt on my dad's eyes. His baby brother, gone, his second youngest brother battling cancer also. Sometimes we just don't understand but God has a reason for everything! I just hope and pray that the family can support each other and pull the family closer together than it ever has been.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.