As I posted yesterday, my friend, Bruce died early yesterday morning. He was buried yesterday, too, in a natural cemetery in Penn Laird. It was a beautiful graveside service on a beautiful day at a beautiful place. He was honored by his family and a large throng of friends.
I didn’t know Bruce as long as virtually everyone else there. I’ve only known him since his illness. He was invited to our men’s group by his friend, Wayne, and he was quickly welcomed with open arms. He shared in that first meeting his diagnosis of stomach cancer and was ready to begin with the treatments. This was nearly two years ago.
In the journey he and his family have been on the past two-plus years, his steadfast faith and resolve were an inspiration to us all. His perspective was always eternal.
A group of us went to see him two weeks ago. He thought his time was short. He looked good when we saw him: good energy, good color to his skin and face, and he was alert and engaging as ever. That was the last time I saw him.
In the past two years, since his diagnosis, relationships became more and more important to Bruce. It seemed as if his marriage relationship drew even closer than before. His relationships with his children were even more important than before and he placed a special emphasis on getting to know his numerous grandchildren. He loved his friends, both the men in his churches (as Pastor Kerry Willis said, one church couldn’t hold Bruce) and those outside the church. Relationships were of the utmost importance to Bruce.
I regret not going to see him at some point in the past two weeks. He knew his time was short. I knew his time was short. Hospice had been called in to help. I just thought he had more time.
I say all this not to make you feel sorry for me, but to remind us all how important relationships are. They were of growing importance to Bruce as his time here grew shorter. They should be of growing importance to us as our days here grow shorter.
You’re still teaching me lessons, Bruce.