The sanctuary was hushed as Tommy brought his mother, my sweet sister Edith, in a wheel chair down to the front, followed by her other three sons, wives and their children, grand children, her sisters, brother, etc. There in a casket, surrounded by flowers, lay her middle son Joe. Jerry had found him dead Tuesday evening. He looked like he was sleeping, eyes closed just as if he had decided to take a nap! While Joe slept, God just decided it was time for him to come home. He had been ill for quite awhile and it was so hard to take, as he had always been such a strong man. First came the heart attack and all the medicine followed, until he no longer felt like the old Joe, health wise. Life wasn’t good anymore except for the fact that he had asked the Lord to come into his heart three years ago.
Suddenly he had that wonderful feeling that God would be with him no matter which way his new journey took him. He began going to church every time he got the chance. He gathered drink cans sold them and as a result was able to put one hundred dollars in the Lottie Moon offering and another hundred dollars in Annie Armstrong offering. He had always visited the nursing home where his mother was, three times a day, ever since she was placed there three years ago. Then suddenly God started whispering in his ear that an old gentleman down the hall needed someone to help him get his artificial leg on every day, then another old lady needed a television so she wouldn’t be so lonely, Another old lady needed someone to push her around sometimes in the hall. Everyone got to know Joe and grew to love him. He was a changed man. The Lord will do that for you, if you will only let Him!
Jerry preached his brother’s funeral and you know that had to be hard. He told of some of their antics as they were growing up together, some about Joe fighting chickens, about his wife telling him those chickens had to go!!!! Guess who went! Everyone got such a laugh out of that! But there was such a noticeable change in Joe. He was relaxed, kind and sweet. He started talking more. The only thing that didn’t change was the love he had for my sister, Edith. A man who will take the time out of every day, to go three times a day to make sure his mom had every thing she needed, doesn’t come around that often anymore. He made sure she had drops in her eyes everyday, by putting them in himself. They (her boys ) all made sure she had her meals and didn’t need ANYTHING. It was (and still will be) the most marvelous thing to witness.
Tommy is having an awful hard time trying to get through this, as are the other boys. The hardest times are to come, as we all know, who have lost someone we loved with all our hearts. But this one thing I do know. God is always there to help us through the hurting. The Bible tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. I KNOW THAT IS TRUE because I have experienced it so many times.
As I bent and kissed Joe on the cheek (he would have been embarrassed to death) last night at the visitation, I realized how much I had grown to love him over the years and how I would miss him. The most wonderful thing to remember is, I will see him again, SOON. I love you, Joe!