Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just Let Go...Your time to dance...John Henry and Melva

And so usually when I write it seems almost an overwhelming urge to get put down on paper what is flowing from inside.   Often when I lose someone that has been an impact...an influence...touched my life in some way or another I feel a connection and must write my words...my thoughts immediately.   I learned last Friday that John Henry Williams had passed.    Had passed was how I had heard some talk on and that seems to be that he passed from this life to the next.   His span of life listed as 87 years, 2 months, and 28 days.  However, it did not seem to be a time for writing. 

There were words building but yet I did not seem to be able to put them to paper (or screen)...then  I found out why I had perhaps tarried...Melva (Pfeiff) Williams had followed.   I told my brother and his words just touched me as he said, "He must have called her."     For those that know them...both had been fighting against losing themselves while still here.  Their children losing them little bits at a time while still right there in front of them. In attending the funeral for John Henry this week...and I think about how if I said individually it was John Henry but most of the time...one just referred to John and Melva...as though one word.   I suppose that is what 65 years together will do...It was asked of John Henry of the best thing that happened in his life I think was how it was worded...and his reply was when he got married.    That just touched me and then to go be with the LORD 9 days apart...a love story...

I feel for their children and grandchildren...it is much to lose one parent but to lose two in such a short time...though as I said...they have lost bits and pieces along the way.   And so I often have something that comes in a picture and the other morning I had captured a sunrise and had thought of John.   But then the other evening...while drawn out by the light of the setting sun...I had captured this field and had again thought of John Henry...the sun setting on a field in Olney Springs...his child hood home...and I wondered which verse to include...but as soon as these words came...I thought how it fit...



As I sat in the pew next to my husband, we sat with his mother and father, his sister and her husband.  Tim's father Frank, Melva's brother...and we listened to a wide array and an awesome collection of music.  Songs of praise...songs of faith.   During this time I hear the following song while watching those who want to say goodbye...and this song was played during the service as well...Come to Jesus by Chris Rice...   



But the words dance with Jesus seem to play loudly to me and I could picture John so clearly with his back to us...surrounded by sunshine and his heels clicking in the air, with a bounce in his step and I knew he was Home...and now I think his bride has joined him...may they dance together...

John's funeral was one of the most touching I have attended.   His grandson Travis was the "Officiant".   And he did a wonderful job.   Also, recordings of John's voice and his words of wisdom...how I wish I would have written them down.   His daughter, Carol, shared the following poem...that actually could be said of both of her parents...though written by another...it speaks to many who have had to lose a parent to Alzheimer's!

"WE WATCHED HIM"
 
"We watched him as he became less of the man we knew and more of the man the disease was to make him.  We watched him, helplessly, as he struggled to understand what was happening to him.  We watched him, painfully, as his confusion grew, We watched him, proudly as his sense of humor eased his pain and the pain of others.   We watched him, not accepting our fate, asking "Why, why, why?", We watched him, crying, as much for ourselves as for him. 
We watched him, lovingly, as he grew more and more restless, We watched him, sadly, as we began to see we must get help, We watched him, happily, as he adjusted to his new "safe" place.   We watched him, anxiously, as he tried time and again to "go home", We watched him, our hearts breaking, on the "good" days and the "bad", Never knowing what the "right thing" to do really was, Hoping that we were somehow doing it.  We watched him, those big brown eyes becoming cloudier, more distant, We watched him, in agony, as he searched for family long gone from this earth, We watched him, helplessly, oh so helplessly, as this demon of demons consumed him.   We watched him and we loved him, We loved him and we watched him."
 
Copyright 1999 Julie Western-Zuge
 
 
And I am thankful that neither of these two must suffer from this terrible "demon" any longer...that their children though will miss them...may have the peace of their faith that their parents no longer have to suffer the pains of this world.    Such a special couple.   I associate with laughter.   I had shared with their granddaughter, Katie, probably my most favorite story.   Perhaps one of those you had to be there...but the point was...I was there.   This very story part of the reason I had shared this loss with my brother.   We were privileged to have gone on a road trip to South Dakota with John and Melva,  Tim's folks, my brother Shane and family and us.   Sitting around the table talking...not sure how it came up...but Melva informs us that John cannot eat bananas.    They give him the "foamy farts"!     I remember laughing so hard as we had never heard of this and so Melva telling is laughing as well.    We still talk of that in fact when I told my brother of John I told him may you never have the foamy farts.    And I guess to some maybe not as funny...but it still makes my heart laugh.  
 
I loved all of the stories shared at John Henry's service.   Their grandson, Chad, had shared of going for his father Donald's surgery I believe it was.   But when asked where John Henry was from he told them Pueblo, Colorado.   They asked where that was and he told them about 30 miles west of Fowler.    His grandson talking of how John put Olney Springs on the map.   Yes, where I reside and John spent part of his days growing up...
 
It was talked of how John Henry shared his faith to any...a simple childlike faith.   When asked of a regret in his life...the one that came to him was that he would have come to know the LORD sooner...
 
I loved the music as the Great-Grandchildren sang Jesus Loves Me/You are my Sunshine.    To me this was such a tribute to his legacy...having riches beyond compare...children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who you love and loves you.   To have good friends speak of the person you were.   I can still see a couple of the boys trying to reach the microphones while the older girls...and not really very old but just a little taller...their songs one to keep and hold in your heart...

I got a copy of some of the video of the kids singing and so I will try to share...just a portion but gives you an idea...

video


I looked through my pictures and though I didn't come across those from South Dakota...I find some from a reunion a few years back...and think this may have been the last time I had seen the pair.   And I know at the time we were starting to see...but still their joy and love...I got one of the two posing for me...one of John Henry...and one of  Melva playing cards with her sister Marge...and sister-in-law Phyllis watching on...

 



After the service I did what I do...and took pictures and captured some that just stuck out...but there were two little girls I was able to hold.   I cannot think of any greater comfort than to hold a baby during our times of grief...This one...I really do think she would have worked her way out of the seat well tried hard as I know her parents would have caught her...but could not resist that face!   And so I got to hold her and just feel the joy she seemed to exude. 


And though I had this one for a little bit of time...I shared her with a woman I am not sure her name...perhaps Angel.   She was one of the caregivers of John Henry...that seemed to have been angels for this family...and I am thinking this little angel thought so as well...


And so after I had shared this one...I came across another sweet baby that I held for awhile but she also in high demand.  I caught her in her Grandma Carol's arms.   Carol being John Henry and Melva's oldest daughter...


Of course this one was making several rounds...her other grandmother who held her during the service and then took one more goodbye of holding one sleepy little baby girl...


And she also got to hang out with her great aunt Ruth...



I watched a little red headed great-grandson that just made you smile...there is something of a red head....such a spark they have for life...In his daddy's arms in his little suit and John Deere boots...


Another "Great" I caught that his eyes just seemed to go right through you.   These families such a Legacy of John Henry and Melva Williams.


This guy sitting next to this guy...looking up...and another little one...several of these precious gifts...Yes John Henry and Melva...you were rich beyond measure!


I catch two older great granddaughter's...How I wish I would have one of them singing...beautiful voices...Instead I catch one watching and one who was enjoying her cookie...






Another younger grandson...with others looking on...these rights of passage that we would sometimes be as content to do without..  


I only caught one of Neil...standing with his wife...feeling I am sure the weight of it all...


I catch one of two brothers...Travis giving such an excellent talk...



I know I missed some.......I guess just sharing some glimpses...sharing with those who could not make it...I have one special one of Katie and her family.   I have come to know Katie only through the power of Facebook...and feel a connection to her losing such special ones.   I share one of her family....



And though I don't include all of the pictures...I include one of my father-in-law, Frank, with John Henry and Melva's oldest son, Don...smiling and though I catch him with his eyes closed...I think of a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance



This taking me a little longer...and I leave with one final story...reminded of it when Don's wife Judy shared of going to Lake Henry...I remember Tim and I when we were first married was invited to go over to Henry for some water skiing with the Williams family.    I had never been up on water ski's before but a young Neil was going to give me a pull.   Well he took off fast because well he was used to those who could ski...HOWEVER...I did not get up.   I remember John Henry saying I can get her up and with a little bit slower pull...he got me up on the first time.    My mind sees him and my father-in-law pulling me around and around the lake.    Finally getting a little tired I ask, "How do I get off?"    To which John in his words of wisdom said, "Let go."     To which I did!   However, Tim, getting pulled up, being a "dry lander" did not want to let go and so he took quite a beating getting pulled behind the boat banging on the water...legs sun burned to add to the pain...

And these stories make me think of our lives...of John Henry and Melva...of getting to that place where you can't take any more...Do you hold on and take more pain...or do you let go.    I believe that John felt it was time to let go and go Home to be with His LORD...and in being so close for so many years...Melva followed close behind.    These two have left markers on my heart...as well as others...special characters...oozing with personality.   Those people though gone...never forgotten!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Williams family as you go through yet another loss another funeral...of two very special people in your lives...



lyp 


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