It was a beautiful day today. Though filled with sorrow of your loss and the frustration of losing you at just 62 years of age, it was a truly beautiful day. The sun smiled on us all–the so many who gathered to say goodbye. There was a slight breeze which was greatly appreciated by those of us wearing black. And the sky was scattered with big white puffy clouds. Those clouds reminded me of my wedding day, as we had the same beautiful sky that day. I was grateful to have you with us for that special event. While you must have been tired and weak, you made the trip to the top of the hill to be with us. I knew you wouldn’t miss it and I was so honored to have you there with your family.
Life is funny sometimes. As I reflect on your life as I know it through my own, there are big gaps and lost years. But no matter how much time passed, seeing you after years, was like seeing you only yesterday. You were always familiar, always inviting, always family.
Cody asked me years ago how it was that I was related to the Reno family. “Uncle Buddy” would seem to convey relation. Though we did not share blood, you were always family to our family. You were dad’s dearest friend and growing up with your visits, you were always referred to as Uncle Buddy by dad. I think it was probably some time before I realized myself you weren’t an uncle by relation. But you were always family. I understand it now, now that I have a child of my own. When you hold someone dear to you, you bestow that affection and privilege to those you love. Miss Connie has an Aunt Angee and an Aunt Laura. Not her blood aunts, but women so dear to me they deserve the title with my daughter. That is how it was for mom and dad with you. That is how they shared you with us.
There were some real tear-jerker moments today. Pastor Peach, as always, was stoic and flawless. The military service was professional and genuine. Mama got up to share memories about you–and she did good! I was so proud of her. You deserved to be honored and have stories shared and good words spoken about you. I am sure most struggled to keep it together long enough to put a coherent sentence together. She spoke for us all. “…he was a great man….he was a friend….someone you could call when you needed rescued….he was Santa!” She was great.
You are at rest without pain or worry. It’s those you leave behind that bear the burden of hurt. My heart aches for Tammie and the kids and those you shared your days with. They will miss you terribly and think of you often.
As for me, I walked away from today’s services feeling so glad that mom and dad shared you with us. That you were family when you didn’t have to be. As with any loss, I regret the times we missed, the years that pass too quickly. But I am so grateful for the memories and events we did have. Cancer is a horrible thing, but it gives us the opportunity to get those visits in, to say what we need to say. Introducing my daughter to you was special for me. One day, I’ll tell her about you, her Great Uncle Buddy. God bless you.