Saturday, August 15, 2009

Final farewell

Today was a day of celebration. A celebration of Bill's life. It was evident that Bill, and Susan, have touched many lives when people were asked to stand if Bill impacted their life. Out of about 400 people, more than half of them stood.

It was therapeutic for me to work on the memorial video because I had pretty much worked through my emotions which allowed me to focus on my camera work.

There was one part of the service where I broke down.

Bill served in the Air Force and the color guard was there to honor his service to our country. Prior to the service I approached the three service men and had the honor of shaking their hand and thanking them for their service and that it meant a lot for them to be there to honor this amazing man. All three of them thanked me.

When the service began, two of the guard marched down to the front of the worship center and displayed the American flag. They displayed the unfolded flag as taps was played from the back of the worship center.

I was moved.

Even with this display of respect, I cannot help but think of the type of honor guard Bill had when he arrived home. Powerful!!!

Bill Jr. and Ginger, Bill's children spoke fondly of their father. He was such a wise man. An open mic was an invitation for people to share how Bill touched their lives. So many amazing and funny stories.

Over all, it was a celebration of Bill's life. There were tears. There were hugs. However, there was also laughter and joy. And I know that is how Bill would have wanted it.

He was a simple servant of his Lord Jesus Christ and he counted it an honor to represent Him to people he came in contact with it the same unconditional love as Christ shows each of us.

KH0809 0011 SusanSmiles
Smiling Susan. Isn't she stunning?!

KH0809 0029 BillJr
Bill Jr. Looks just like his Dad.

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Lot's of hugs!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bill and Susan

When I was at home, I looked and looked through all my files to find the pictures that I had taken of Bill and Susan out in the Prayer garden at church last August. I had their individual photos, but couldn't find their couples photos. With all the hard drive problems I have been having, I thought for sure I had lost them.

However, I was very thankful to come into my old work computer and find the original photos.

I have shown you how handsome Bill was and his contagious smile and now, for those of you who don't know the two of them, you can see what a handsome couple they made. They compliment each other in every way possible and walked the journey of life tackling every struggle, rejoicing every accomplishment, learning to love and forgive, and growing more like Christ with every passing day. All of this was done TOGETHER.

In as much as it pains me to think of saying Susan with out Bill's name preceding it, I find comfort in knowing that Jesus has, and will, always go before her. And I know she finds comfort in that knowledge.

I love you Bill.
I love you Susan.

Bill and Susan 002

Monday, August 10, 2009

More about Bill

As most of you know, I lost my job at the church way back in March. Because I moved so far away, I'm out of the loop on most of what is going on with people.

I had heard that Bill was in the hospital around Easter, but had heard that he had recovered and heard nothing more. That is until yesterday.

I still am the main camera operator for all four Sunday services at church and yesterday when I returned from lunch, Don was standing at the top of the stairs. He simply told me, "Bill passed away today around 12:30."

I had no idea who he was talking about. "Bill who?"

He had a puzzled look on his face mixed with a bit of horror as he realized that I didn't know about Bill being diagnosed with cancer.

It was not unusual for Bill and Susan to spend every weekend up in the high country during the summer months and that is where I thought they were weekend after weekend. I would look for them every weekend, and this weekend was no different. I scanned the hundreds of people looking for those two familiar faces and to hear their comforting southern drawl.

Don apologized to me. He thought I knew. I didn't. I was in shock. No tears, only questions. The flood gates would open about an hour later when the news started to sink in.

I worked mainly with Susan on a large video project for her ministry and I had a couple of shoots at their house. I enjoyed speaking to Bill. There have only been two men in my life where simply hearing the sound of their voice has an amazing calming effect on me and Bill was one of them.

I sat at my computer and wept. I didn't cry, I wept! Snot bubbles and all. I'm thankful that I did not have to be on camera for the entire evening service yesterday, only for worship. I sat on my camera perch with a box of tissues at my feet and wept during worship.

I didn't know what to do. I wanted to give Susan a big hug and just hold her, but I didn't want to intrude. I didn't get to do that with my friend, who's momma passed just a month ago and never really felt like I had closure with that loss.

I drove to Bill and Susan's house and was met by their son, Bill Jr.. He looks just like his Dad! It actually took me back to see him.

I was able to hug Susan and just hold her. We talked and she told me about the past four months and how amazing God had been during that time. The people at the hospital would come in and just sit with Bill because there was something calm and peaceful about him.

He touched peoples lives right up to his departure.

I don't know how I'm going to get through the service on Saturday. I have already committed to be on camera for Susan and record this memory for her, a celebration of Bill's life. I told her that when we spoke and she told me we would get through it together.

I found one more photo I had taken of Bill almost a year ago exactly. Once again, you see his contagious smile. If you didn't have an opportunity to know him, I'm sorry for you. For those of us who had the blessing to know him, our lives will never be the same. I will miss him, but celebrate that he is worshiping with Christ, his Lord and King.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Again, In Loving Memory

They say things come in three's. Well, I was just punched in the stomach with the third person in the past month I know of to have passed away of cancer.

Bill passed away today just after lunchtime. He was an amazing man of God with an infectious smile.

I can't write more right now. Please pray for his wife, Susan.