Tim’s celebration of life service was held yesterday morning – and no, I am not completely recovered from it all yet. I would dearly love to be in bed by now, but I am now the single parent of teen and almost teen kids that are becoming more and more active in things that keep them out late. Luke and Micah went with the Rockpoint Students to pack Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and won’t be home until close to 11 pm. Oie!
Tim’s service yesterday was just as beautiful as I had envisioned it would be. For all those that were able to be there, thank you for coming. It was wonderful to greet so many that I know and meet so many more that I didn’t know until yesterday. For those of you that were able to come only to the visitation or those that couldn’t come at all, I have had a request that I share the three life lessons the boys learned from Tim.
Rather than have an open microphone time, we had four key people represent four time periods/aspects of Tim’s life each take a turn talking about Tim for the eulogy time. Leslie, Tim’s cousin, shared about his childhood. She struggled to keep her composure as she shared about Tim as he was growing up. A good friend, Ben, shared his remembrances of Tim, especially in the teen and early adult years. Next, Scott, a good friend for the past 17 years, talked about Tim’s family life and the fact that family always came first for Tim. And finally, Kurt, a colleague and mentor at 3M, expressed his appreciation for Tim as a chemist and Tim as a friend.
Of the four presenters, I had worked most closely with Scott to help him with what he would say. A while ago, he had asked me a series of questions to help him form a framework for what he would say. I mentioned to him that I had asked the boys what lessons they felt they had learned from Tim. And these are their responses:
Discipline is everything. Anyone that knew Tim, knew that he was a very disciplined man. I could relate many examples of this, but the ones that stick out the most would be his discipline in his health – he always ate very healthy and preferred to do the stairs than take the elevator – as well as discipline in the area of finances – he was not an impulse spender! For years now, I have wished for the kind of self-discipline that seemed to come so easily to him.
Prepare for the unexpected. ALS was certainly an unexpected turn of events in our lives, however, Tim had always been prepared in the sense that he has always had a strong faith that allowed him to trust in God even when the circumstances weren’t particularly favorable. By investing time in developing his faith, he was ready to face something of this magnitude when it came along.
Never give up. The boys definitely saw Tim live this out – even to the very end. Tim never gave up his faith, he never gave up seeing the good around him, he never gave up his smile. There were only a couple times over the course of the past 2 1/2 years that he ever got frustrated – and the extent of his frustration was for him to shake his head and say “I didn’t sign up for this.” And then he got right back in the game and kept fighting forward.
I am so glad that the boys were able to articulate such important lessons that they had learned from Tim. I believe he would actually be surprised, but I believe these are quite accurate descriptions of Tim. He has left them with life skills they will need, not only as they face the coming days, but also throughout the rest of their lives.
It makes me wonder what lessons they would say they have learned from me. Somehow, I don’t think they would be as profound or as life-changing.