I finally downloaded the great photos that our talented friend, Scott Hendrix, took at Vernon’s and my “10th Anniversary Party/Memorial” last September. I love them so much. What lovely reminders of a special evening. We were going for a relaxed, southwestern feel that he felt so at home in, even though he’d only spent a tiny part of his life in California. I know he would have loved it too—I know the parts of him left in me did. I want to share some of the pictures here for those who weren’t there…and to delight the memories of those who were. This was the yard we were married ten years before, so it had to be a little more intimate….but it was important for me to do this here, even if Vernon no longer cared about stuff like that. (Thank you, Patti and Richard for lending us your backyard again!) Along with that, I have a transcript of what our chaplain, Derek, had to say that night. I think it is particularly poignant, as he had known Vernon before the accident, but also drew close to him at times through his ‘recovery’ and especially at the end, when we chose his hospice company for the job. It seems fitting to add this all to the time-capsule that is this blog.
Good evening, I was blessed to know Vernon and to be able to visit him these pastcouple of years, and accompany him and Allison, as he came on hospice care.Alison asked me to share a few thoughts today….I had heard a thought expressed recently that made me think of Vernon and ponder hisreality: “We are all spiritual beings having a human experience…..”The idea resonated with me…. and yet, on this side of eternity, it’s easy to think andbehave as though the opposite were true…That we are simply human beings seeking some kind of spiritual experience……And so it is in our search for meaning and understanding that we try and attachsignificance to the events in our lives, and a reason for everything we encounter…However, sometimes bad things happen in this life that are completely random, with norhyme or reason,…….with no apparent or satisfactory answer to the question “Why?”Tonight we are not focusing on the question “why” but the question “Who?” Who is theone holding Vernon in His loving arms…..Who is the one sending his “new mercies”every morning?We are here not only to celebrate Vernon’s life, but to celebrate his union with Allisonand the love they shared! The depth of that love has been on full display. For instead ofwithdrawing, Allison embraced the dire circumstances with remarkable courage,honesty and vulnerability and allowed it to shape her in positive ways. In so doing sheblessed and honored Vernon and has left an indelible mark on us all.Allison, I think of that moment in the hospital when you were sensing things to comeand were overcome with emotion. You truly embodied the song we were singing at thattime…… “When evening falls so hard….I will comfort you…. I’ll take your part,oh, when darkness comes…..and pain is all around……Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.” For Vernon you were truly a bridgeover troubled water, allowing him safe passage out of darkness and into the light!!!!I remember having some meaningful exchanges with Vernon in the past when ourfriendship was first cultivating. I think he discovered I was a sort of safe person for himto discuss his beliefs because I had lived in France so many years and was wellacquainted with and influenced in a positive way by a European worldview.Vernon had more of a philosophical, intellectual, and pragmatic approach to hisspirituality, and was somewhat skeptical of organized religion. He wasn’t looking for patanswers or a neatly packaged belief system, rather, he was someone who was thinkingoutside the box…..Someone who was comfortable with having more questions thananswers! Someone who could respect ambiguity, uncertainty and mystery.Some may have questioned his faith at times, but to me, with Vernon, the waters randeep; and I saw evidence of a deeper spirituality. The kind of spirituality that wasnecessary to see him through his darkest times and it resurfaced again in reassuringfashion in those final days and hours as his body, metaphorically, labored to birth hisspirit into eternity.
So, I reaffirm that Vernon is a spiritual being, who had a human experience!And in the big picture, he had a wonderful human experience filled with love andlaughter, shared with his devoted lover and partner, enriched by his son and daughterboth of whom he cherished, enhanced by fulfilling work, meaningful friendships, asupportive family and a loving heavenly Father who has taken him home……It was a life well lived and we were all blessed to be a part of it.Rest in peace Vernon!
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