Turnout for Turners

Today I learned that as I was getting ashes on my forehead and saying prayers for friends in need on Wednesday, one of those friends was making his final journey home.  When I saw his obituary today, I just sobbed.  I was not particularly close to Jim.  I’d only known  him since October and had only spoken with him 4-5 times, but his personality was larger than life.  Funny thing….that was part of the focus in the homily on Wednesday – people who seem “larger than life.”

Jim was the Pack Leader for my son’s Scout troop.  In the time I knew him, I viewed him to be a really good leader for the boys.  He’s a Gulf War vet – so he can be tough when it’s needed.  He has 3 children – boys who are so individually unique and yet each one looks like a miniature version of Jim – so he can be loving when it’s needed.  He was diagnosed just before Christmas with pancreatic cancer.  He had posted a note in his CaringBridge journal (CaringBridge is an awesome gift to friends and family) last Saturday that he was ready for the fight.  “Just point out the next hill you want me to take…” 

Unfair – it’s the word that keeps coming to mind.  It’s selfish, really.  I was thinking how unfair it is that I finally find a good male influence for my son and now we’ve lost him, too.  I was wondering what was going to happen to the Scout troop.  I was crying for those three boys: too young to have to face this, too old to be able to move on quickly.  My heart aches for his wife.  I cannot even imagine what her life is like at this moment.

Ironically, I attended a dinner theatre show tonight about an Irish wake.  It’s a comedy, so there was laughter, but I kept thinking about Jim (a proud Irish boy), and it didn’t seem so funny anymore.  I will take my son to the wake tomorrow.  We will salute Jim one last time.  There will be no laughing.  My prayers tonight are with his family. 

Peace is finally with you, James T. Turner.  The pain is gone and you are home.  God bless you.

The death of someone we know always reminds us that we are still alive – perhaps for some purpose which we ought to re-examine.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960


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