Wednesday, September 9, 2009


My Dad's best friend died today. He lived across the street from us all the years I lived with my parents. He only had boys, so I was his surrogate daughter of sorts. Since I am the only girl in my family, I hit the jackpot twice.

I am flooded with memories today. Bill and my Dad taught me how to swim in his swimming pool; Bill taught me how to ski on Lake Tuscaloosa; Bill offered his advice on my boyfriends. Many nights, he would stand in the doorway to my Dad's workshop and talk with my Dad until bedtime. Bill often came over to check on me--I was a latch key kid, and he made sure I got home from school okay. He teased me relentlessly, and I loved it. He came over during the high school years to offer his input in the activities I chose to be involved with. He encouraged me to seek God's best for my life and to make wise decisions.

He loved Archie Bunker and John Wayne. He loved Alabama football.

When I left for college, I cried when I told Bill goodbye. I think he shed a few tears, too.

I couldn't wait to go home and have Bill meet my future husband. I couldn't wait to go home and show Bill my firstborn.

Bill was there for me when my Daddy died suddenly in 2000. He was heartbroken, as was I.

As an adult, we became friends who shared our hurts and fears with each other. He died today with some secrets from my past. I will keep his close to my heart.

So I ponder today who are the "Bills" in my children's lives. In a culture where children are segregated from adults, I intentionally try to put my children around others I respect and want their influence on my two. No Bill is perfect. In Bill's imperfections, I learned of God's grace and unconditional love. I pray today for God to show me how to be a Bill in others' lives.

God burdened my heart to see Bill this past summer. I met him at the end of July in his room at the local nursing home. Bill was there due to Alzheimer's. I told him all you have just read. He didn't talk, but he kept his hand on my cheek and smiled his big grin with his eyes sparkling in acknowledgement. I am so glad I went.


Stephanie said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! May we all be so blessed to have such friends in our lives and our children's lives. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I love how God places jewels in our lives to be remembered with love and fondness, as you do Bill. I pray for comfort during this difficult time and pray that God will bring to your mind many good memories of Bill to remind you that in a way he will always be with you because of the imprint he has made in your heart.
With His Love,

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your relationship with Bill with us. I'll pray for you during this time of sadness at his passing. You are so right about the relationships with older friends and you have rekindled that desire in me -- for my children to have friends and mentors outside of our family who are older believers. You are a sweetie, and I'm so glad you were able to visit with Bill and let him know how you feel. Thanks again,

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