I skipped three days of class and Jeff took three days off work. It was crazy, but we had to be there, you know? It was just so precious to us to be there with our family. The funeral was beautiful... the church was so crowded that people had to stand in the back, Jeff's mom sang (she has a choral performance degree and a really lovely voice), and Jeff's cousin (the priest who co-officiated our wedding) gave an amazing sermon. Still, it's been really hard.
We were able to spend some quality time with Jeff's aunt, his cousins, and the rest of the South Carolina family, and I'm so glad we were there. It's always nice to see everybody, but I definitely wouldn't have wanted it to happen under these circumstances. Life can be so tragic and unexpected sometimes.
I met Uncle Bill for the first time in 2008 while Jeff was still in college, and I have a lot of wonderful memories from the few years that I knew him. The way he immediately and warmly welcomed me into the family meant so much to me, and he was always so interested in what was going on in my life. He loved to ask Jeff and me a bunch of questions about school and our plans for the future, and he always threw little pieces of advice into our conversations. I treasured those moments because they made me feel like he cared about me just like I was one of his own nieces and nephews that he had known for years and years. He was a genuine man full of love.
When we got married, we asked Uncle Bill to do one of the readings at our wedding. I'll always treasure the memory of him doing that reading for us. I think it meant a lot to him to do it, and it meant a lot to us that he was so excited about it. He read from Jeremiah, about the covenant between God and His people. It was a fitting passage for him to read because he lived his life with such a desire to serve his God. We had no idea at the time that God would call him up to heaven so soon.
"I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the Lord."
We'll miss you, Uncle Bill.