He taught us even through the boxes of Smarties that were handed out to each person who came to the funeral. They were donated by the manager of the No Frills shop where he and his staff shopped for groceries. He developed a close friendship with Annette and her husband at the store and always came home with candy. Often the staff was left to do the shopping alone, he was too busy connecting. I told the staff he used to shop with that she did a good job getting out of the way and letting the friendship happen. Some might have thought they needed to get him to focus on the grocery shopping. She knew what was most important.
From photos on display his handsome face looked out at us, beaming with serenity and contentment. At the front of the church was an array of his stuffed toys and two trophies won between illnesses for a bowling score no one has yet managed to beat.
The service was simple; three songs (I'll Fly Away; Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me,) a short sermon on Psalm 23 and tributes from his staff and friends.
He loved suspenders and wore them with aplomb. He also loved tying people's shoe laces, and there was no stopping him if he decided he wanted to. Someone joked that the angels' shoes are all tightly laced and tied since he arrived.
I thought about how complicated life can sometimes be for most of us, and yet how simple it truly is. This man leaves no inheritance of wealth, but he leaves an inheritance of love, memories, and goodness. He will not be forgotten, but lovingly remembered by those who knew him.
He loved to take your hands in his, and loved to listen a wristwatch, drawing it to his ear and smiling as he listened to the tick, tick, tick like the beat of a small heart.
One of the staff found this poem forming involuntarily as soon as she heard he had died. It is so beautiful and she gave me permission to share it here.
by Joanna Goheen
I give you my hands, I'll make you smile and forget your troubles for a while
Give me your hands, I'll kiss them light and beam at you with sheer delight
I give you my hands; I'll steal your heart and make you feel we're never far apart
Give me your hands; I'll fix you up, doing up buttons and zipping you up
I give you my hands; I want to say, stay a while relax and play, I have some toys I want to share, but mostly I just want you there
Give me your hands; I'll listen to your watch tick and forget for a while that I was sick
I give you my hands; and then I'm off to play, in heaven now but not far away
Give someone your hands; I always say you'll find it will make their day
In loving memory of RM