Sunday, February 7, 2010

One of the Best

I have started and restarted this post more times than I can count. How does one write a tribute to a beloved friend when the words won't come? I am just sad, my heart is heavy with grief, and the tears continue to come and go.

On Friday we heard the news that our dear friend, Ed, had passed in his sleep. It was completely unexpected and a total shock to all of us.

Ed was more than just a family friend, he was the pastor of my childhood church. We walked in the doors of that church when I was just six years old and stayed for 12+ years. Pastor Ed and his wife were the same age as my parents, their oldest son was my age, their second son fell between Christine and Allison, and their baby girl arrived the same year Courtney did. His wife, Donna, and my mom became best friends. I can't even begin to describe how many times we got together with them outside of church. Their family was so intricately intertwined with mine during those years; they seem to always be in the background of my memories.

How does one even begin to describe Ed? He was larger than life, enveloping everyone in huge hugs. Hugs that spoke of how much he cared for you, hugs that brought comfort and strength, hugs that showed the depth of love he had for people. No matter where I ran into Ed throughout the city, ball games, grocery stores, movies, or restaurants, I could count on being on the receiving end of one of his bone-crushing hugs. I'm going to miss those hugs.

Ed and Donna have been there for my family in so many ways. During the hard seven years our family went through, I remember the nights they showed up to pray with us, to offer support. When Alli went through her eating disorder, they came alongside us with emotional, spiritual, and financial support. When Mom was in the hospital last year, they were always visiting and bringing her encouragement. He has always been there, steadfast in his love for family, friends, and people in general.

We grew up alongside their children; Jeremy, the oldest, married one of my good friends. I was blessed to be a bridesmaid at their wedding. As Jill walked down the aisle to be joined with Jeremy, I looked at Ed. There he stood, so tall and proud, and I could tell he felt so honored to be officiating his oldest son's wedding. It was a tender ceremony. The same could be said about Grant's wedding to Jennifer. Beautiful, poignant, and special.

And now, in one moment, he's gone. And it hurts. It hurts to know I'll never get to see that big, wide, infectious smile again. That those hugs will never be again. But what truly hurts the most? Its seeing the pain in his children's eyes; thinking how Donna must be feeling; knowing that Amy will not get to walk on her father's arm down the aisle someday; of how upset Jill and Jennifer are that their daughters will not get to know their grandfather. I hurt for them. I especially wonder how everyone will fare when shock has worn off and their new reality sets in.

Today we went back to our old church, the church that Ed pastored. It felt right to be there, a mini-memorial service of sorts. As people got up one by one to share memories of Ed, they flipped through my mind like a rolodex. Of being baptized by Ed, of Broncos-Raiders football games, of double-dating to prom with Jill and Jeremy, of dinners and church functions and of strength. He was one of the greatest this earth had to offer and he will be greatly missed.

After the service was over and my children had been retrieved from their classes, we stood there hugging old friends and offering support and encouragement in whatever way we could. In the back of my mind I could hear the sound of running feet and soft shrieks of laughter and it registered as I turned to watch my children running around the sanctuary, not a care in the world, that it was the sounds all too similar of my own childhood in that same church. I watched as Jeremy's own girls join in on the carefree play, and wondered at how life certainly had come full circle. From the days that Jeremy and I raced around the sanctuary, to watching our own children chase each other. There's a legacy in that; a legacy that could only be born of one man with a desire for God and His people. He will be greatly missed!

9 comments:

Kamma said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for your heart-felt words and memories. I also have been going through on and off bouts of crying and laughing and remembering. It was so good to see you this morning; so fitting and right. Love you.

Stacey said...

Honey, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. You and your family as well as Ed's family will all be in my prayers. Love you dear.

S

Christine said...

Jenn, I'm so glad you wrote this post. You definitely put my feelings and thoughts into writing in a way that I couldn't.
Love you.

stefanie said...

So sorry...

It's a beautiful tribute, Jenn. I have a feeling that there are hundreds more waiting to be written. I've been trying to write mine, but it hasn't gone anywhere. Yet.

Deets said...

Jenn,
You and Jeremy and Kamma were the first people I ever taught in a children's Bible class. That was ages ago and because of Ed, a man of great vision. I have no idea how many children I have gone on to teach since I was first encouraged by Ed. Probably in the neighborhood of thousands. Some of them have now become teachers of other children.

I haven't talked to Ed in years, but I'll always remember him as a wonderful mentor. I'll always know that my ministry is because of his. I'll always know that every thank you note I get from a child or a parent who respect my teaching is in part a thank you to Ed Davis.

Thank you for writing this wonderful piece.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Jen, I am so sorry for your loss.
You have written this so beautifully...and made me move forward another step in this day...putting my arms around my loved ones. You are not promised the next moment, so I will embrace.
I love you dearly,
Colleen

Dareth said...

What a beautiful tribute, Jenn.

I have been praying for his family and yours.

Jenna said...

So sorry for your loss! Ed sounded like a wonderful man! Praying for you, your family, and Ed's family!

Anonymous said...

Jenn-
I finally got to read your post about Ed. It made me cry. You did a wonderful job giving his life the tribute and meaning it was. Thank you, honey. What a blessing it is.
Love, Mom

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