I buried a friend this weekend…

I left Friday morning for a 6-hour drive that I really didn’t want to make. One of my very best friends died quite unexpectedly, a massive heart attack. My dear friend left behind a wife, a teenage step-daughter, and three adult children that any parent would humbly and gladly claim. Bill was a dear friend of mine, a true brother. A brother not in the sense of blood, military service, or the like…but more along the lines of a deep spiritual brother that I cherish.

Bill and I could talk for hours about anything, jokes thrown in to make it fun, we both had a similar sense of humor with which we tortured the world. I was his confidant. He spoke to me of things that he either did not, or could not speak, to others. We cried together more than once for personal reasons…deep personal and spiritual reasons.

Bill loved God. And there is no doubt in my mind that God loves Bill as only a Heavenly Father can love His child…without reservation. I loved Bill as well…he was my brother, my friend, a kindred spirit. He has left a hole in my daily life…I am sad to no longer have his companionship and share our conversations.

Friday night was a family only viewing and gathering…I was invited multiple times by his wife and his brother…they knew of our deep friendship. Tears were shed Friday night for the loss of his presence.

As I drove back to my motel that night I was completely lost in my soul, my heart ached, the night was blacker than I had ever remembered. At the gathering his teenage grandchildren cried, the younger ones milled about and played intermittently but quietly. His widow hugged me with a sorrow that was deep and full of anguish. He was gone all too soon and far too young…he was only in his 50’s. His son and I shared a close half hour together…he spoke to me of how often his father had mentioned me and how fondly he had appreciated and loved me. I cried.

Then his son and I spoke of the military, we are both Navy veterans…he 30 years my junior. A bond shared by shipmates was formed, stories shared, and some of the loss retreated for a brief time.

On Saturday the brief viewing was filled with more grandchildren, and a wide range of additional friends, co-workers, and former patients. Bill had spent almost his entire post-military adult life as a nurse. But not just any nurse…first as an ER nurse, then as a cardiac specialty nurse. More than a few of his former patients were there at his funeral out of gratitude for all that Bill had done for them.

During the service, listening to his children speak of him brought more than one chuckle as they shared personal stories filled with humor. More tears than I care to tell you about as they spoke of how much they would miss him. His brother, another close friend of mine, could hardly get through his eulogy…he shed many tears in that 15 minutes.

But the most moving and touching memory of that service was the closing prayer…a prayer uttered by his 13-year old granddaughter. Celeste had a close and special bond with her grandfather, she was his favorite of all the 12 grandchildren I would assume. She struggled with her emotions, her love for him was so readily apparent, her tears flowed without shame or embarrassment. She whispered that prayer as only a child with unbound love could…quiet, respectful, honest, and feelings that come from deep within a person’s heart and soul. I was irreverent…I didn’t bow my head, I watched this young woman full of grace and determination pay her last respects to her grandfather. I cried from beginning to end of this sweet girl’s prayer.

Had you known Bill you would have loved him as well. Had he been your friend you too would have a huge hole left in your heart and soul as do I. Had you been one of his many patients you would know of his love, compassion, and unrestrained commitment to his profession. Bill was simply one of those rare and special people that don’t come along very often in life.

Bill is missed by many.

Today, in the full afternoon sunshine of a wonderful fall day, I am sure, with all my heart, that Bill is smiling at those of us left behind. I can almost hear his words…love, laugh, make others happy, make them smile, and get out there and take a walk with a loved one…and I miss all of you as much as all of you miss me. And he would smile that special knowing smile of his, a loving smile of his, while he shared these last six words…it is worth the journey of life.

In memory of my brother and friend…Bill.



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11 thoughts on “I buried a friend this weekend…

  1. I hope I have lived worthy to receive such a tribute as you have shared for your friend Bill. I obviously did not know him, but I too shed a tear, as I read your words and felt of the love you have for your dear friend and for his family. I am grateful for the knowledge I have of our savior, to know that we will all be together again after our earthly trial and after we cross through the veil into the eternities. May your memories of Bill long linger in your heart to fill the void of his passing until you meet again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you John…thank you very much. You would have loved Bill as a brother was well. He is a great man. You heartfelt words brought a tear to my eye…thank you for helping keeping his memory alive.


    • Linda,
      What a wonderful post, thank you so much. He was a complex individual to be sure, with the heart that few can imagine. You would have loved him as a brother as soon as you met him. I will introduce you one day.


  2. AH, I am sorry for your loss. You expressed beautifully this special man. I am wondering if his last name is McKibben, one you had mentioned before fondly. Prayers for Comfort! Barbara

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Feel for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. As the saying goes, the only way to take the grief out of death would be to take the love out of life. What a blessing that you had the opportunity to share such a sweet friendship in this life, and can look forward to picking up where you left off. Sooner than we can imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

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