On a balmy October afternoon, we gathered on a green slope saturated with sinking-sun amber light. Sentinel trees swayed in a swan dance of brilliant-hued Autumn. We clustered amidst names engraved in stone, contemplating the eternal promise of Scripture, swelling with tears to the last lingering notes of Amazing Grace.
Each of us clutched a red rose, one last offering to one so loved. Placing mine, I knelt in crinkling leaves. I faced purple mountain shadows he loved so much: translucent layers of late-day glimmer, sheltering myriad memories there. Head bowed, two thoughts emerged from cluttered sorrow:
Thanksgiving, unmarred gratitude for nothing left undone or unsaid; love freely flowing, given and received.
And a gut level plea for one taken too soon: only that somehow his influence could be known by my precious children, deprived of his physical presence long before we were ready.
So much he could have taught them. Names of flowers and constellations, love for country, lore of Native American culture and rumbling trains, respect for untamable wilderness, unyielding passion for wife and family, most of all relentless wrestling with God until blessing comes, even unto surrender of death.
Now all treasure is hidden with him where he is, except for rich deposits buried over years in soul-soil of those he loved so well. Oh that I might plum heights and depths, vivid storyteller may I become, so that they may see him in their hearts. As he lives always and forever in mine.