Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Good-byes and resolutions.

We lost a friend this holiday season.

A too-young husband, father, son, brother, neighbor and friend.

Kevin's memorial service was beautiful. His amazing daughters shared scripture that had helped them as a family during the year Kevin fought cancer.

Brother, friends and Starbuck's co-workers shared story after story of the kind, compassionate and funny guy Kevin was.

We haven't been Kevin's neighbors in almost two years. And still. I knew he was sick. I have followed his Caring Bridge site prayerfully. I have received updates from mutual friends still living on that side of town. And I have prayed and prayed.

And while I do not want in any way to say prayer is not a mighty thing to do for others -- oh it is -- I have to confess that I was convicted in my very core because I have not gotten in my car, driven across town and sat with my friend Shelly, Kevin or the girls.

For years, we would drive past Kevin and Shelly's home on our way to our's. More often than not, Kevin was outside working in the yard, the pool, or decorating for an upcoming holiday (his Halloween and Christmas decorations were the best!) and we would wave and honk. His return wave made my kids and I feel like we were in a smaller town -- not the big city -- that we KNEW neighbors and were known. It was big deal.

I never told him that.

Friday, I hugged my friend Shelly. She was so strong. After she had been hugged by all the Shraders she admonished us -- insisted -- that we go and enjoy our Christmas. Kevin would want that she said. Do not stay sad. Go. Enjoy.

And we have. But with Kevin, Shelly, Nicole and Kendahl on our hearts. And because of that -- we were a bit kinder with each other. We stopped before we raised our voices. We -- oh and this is hard -- cut off electronics and enjoyed face-to-face time with each other making memories. We brewed only Starbucks coffee...and yes, we hugged a little tighter.

My hope is that as we enter the new year, we'll remember Kevin's legacy and the lessons he taught us with his life and with his death. And I hope we will work to be more like him -- placing family first and making the most of each and every day with the ones we love.

Thank you, Kevin. Your life blessed us. We look forward to the day we see you again.