One of the highlights of my trip home was spending Christmas Eve with extended family on my mom’s side. The Mason clan is a large one; at the time of her death, my grandmother presided over a family of six kids, 19 grandkids, and 21 great-grandkids, all of whom thought they were her favorite. It is a loving family and even though I spent most of my formative years away from them, my aunts and uncles and cousins embraced us when we were together and left me with a strong sense of belonging.
The night of the Christmas party I was uncharacteristically emotional. I hadn’t seen my aunts and uncles in a long while and to be among them was meaningful and overwhelming. I was soberly reminded that my days with them are growing shorter – we lost one uncle last year and another, Uncle Clyde, battling cancer, was preparing for another surgery to keep it at bay. I made it a point to spend time with all of them, to tell them I loved them, to let them know how much I cared for them. Three short weeks later, I’m thankful for that night as I received word this past Sunday that Uncle Clyde died unexpectedly during his surgery recovery. He was 85.
Today they are celebrating his life in a little country church in Texas where he taught Sunday School to squirmy 5th grade boys for 30 years and served as deacon for more than 50. He was an honorable man, loyal, God-fearing, humble, hard-working, and steadfast. He was faithful to his wife of 64 years and loved his children deeply. If you belonged to him, he was concerned about you and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to help if he could.
My heart and thoughts are with Aunt Mo, Wendell and Patti, Brenda, Brent and Carol as they lay him to rest on a hill at the edge of town that, sadly, we know too well. We do not mourn as those who have no hope for Clyde knew the Lord and walked with him all the days of his life. We take comfort that he is with his Savior and free from the pain that he bravely bore.
Well done, good and faithful servant.
You will be greatly missed.