A year ago

A year ago today is when we got our first indication that our world was about to change. I won’t go into all the details, but when I realized Chuck was yellow, jaundiced, I knew I had to get him to the ER. I drove him to the Medical West ER in Hoover but had to drop him off because the Covid restrictions were already in place.

We were under contract on our house already. I went home to take care of marking our electrical box per the inspection, via a wonderful young man who walked me through it by phone and would not let me pay him.

Within an hour Chuck called. They had done a scan and found a mass on his pancreas. When I went to pick him up he was standing outside on the curb, looking so lost.

That day was the only time I remember him really crying. This gentle giant of a man curled up in our big brown chair in the living room and said, “I wonder who will be my pallbearers?”

Then he began his brief fight against the monster that raged within him. Pancreatic cancer. Our journey brought our children back together and then took us to Jacksonville where Chuck died two months after we first heard the words “mass on the pancreas”.

He had no pallbearers, but he is buried in a beautiful cemetery, along with his great-nephew, Wyatt. I can’t say life has gone on without him because he is a part of everyday for me. I see him in the kindness of his daughters and the laughter of his sons. I watched my grandson Everett play chess last Saturday with one of my son’s friends and I thought of how Chuck played chess with him even when he was ill. I’m grateful Everett will have those happy memories of Grandpa.

Everett and Grandpa, 2020

A legacy

Teaching Sarah chess

I attended my last Griefshare meeting this week. One thing that came up was what kind of legacy do you want to keep/pass on from your loved one? There are things Chuck already passed down that I can’t touch: his love and knowledge of baseball, his love of chess. His faith is something that is still a constant with me, strengthening mine daily. But, then I thought of something else. Something he exhibited that I’ve had a hard time with. It’s something I want to embrace and pass on.

This legacy to me is the ability to not hold a grudge. Chuck was a very forgiving person. He talked me off the ledge of bitterness many times. He had to tell me to let go of things. It’s not that he never got mad at people. Or institutions. But, he learned to work through his feelings and move on.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. – Matthew 6:12