A Fallen Parent

I get a lump in my chest every time I hear of a family that loses a mom or dad. The news that Beka from Texas recently shared with me not only “lumped” me but challenged me as well.

“Last year, I bought two “#stayingmarried” shirts for some best friends of ours, Clint and Michelle. After almost 24 years together, they knew how to forgive each other, spoil each other, and have amazing times together. They did missions work, pastored a church, and mentored other couples and families.

The shirt was just a symbol to others of what they already lived. They were living their lives with outstretched arms, serving and giving and impacting lives everywhere they went.

Although they invested enormously into those around them, they invested even more into their marriage and children. Clint’s voicemail even said, “Thanks for calling. If it’s after 6pm, I’m with my family. Please leave a message.” Clint took the time to build amazing memories with his children and wife… vacations, a family go-kart, a 5-acre property, taking his family out for the evening, etc.

Then tragedy struck. At just 45 years old, Clint went in for a surgery and ended up with an infection. On the day he was expected to be recovered enough to come home, Clint took his last breath. The high-energy, ever-investing-in-others Clint was no longer with us earth side. His family that he had so intentionally invested in was now missing a vital part of them.

At the graveside service, I saw his wife walking up. I burst out in tears when I saw what she was wearing. Her gray “#stayingmarried” shirt.

She walks up to the closed casket and lays Clint’s “#stayingmarried” shirt on top. I bawled.

Here was this faithful wife that had been so pampered and so loved by her amazing husband. She was burying half of herself that day. But doing so with commitment right up to the end.

Oh, a life well lived. Clint is an example to us all to love our families big. To celebrate that anniversary, to build that go-kart, to make that memory, to say “yes.” To always be cheerful and never grumpy about it either. To make sure those closest to you know how much you love them.

On behalf of all of us that remain, we lift our glasses and say, “Well done, Clint. Thanks for the example.”

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