The First

21 May

Yesterday I attended the funeral of my uncle Roger.  It wasn’t quite 8 weeks ago when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Everyone I’ve known with that type of cancer has gone quickly.  And my aunt and cousins tell me there was a blessing in all of this, because he was starting to experience great pain.

How often have I told folks at Ebenezer that we preach our own funerals by how we live??  The ministers in his church did a great job yesterday, but six months from now no one will remember what they said … What we will remember is how Roger lived!

My favorite memories of Roger are caught up in holidays, mostly Christmas.  Since his sons, Tony and Allen, are the closest male cousins I have to my age, I always hoped EVERY CHRISTMAS they would be home.  I probably drove my mom nuts for a few years, asking her EVERY CHRISTMAS “are the Radcliffe’s coming home?”  It always made Christmas more fun for me when they did!

Roger was a lot of fun.  Always had a good attitude and an optimistic outlook.  Like his pastor said yesterday, he was probably one of the first techno-geeks in Horry County (via the USAF).  He continued to love computers and worked with them, both for fun and vocation, for the rest of his life.

And now Roger is the first … The first of his generation, in my mom’s family, to die.  Mom has four sisters and one brother, and Roger has the unfortunate distinction of being the first we’ve buried.  Although we won’t live forever, there is always that little part of us that hopes … that cannot imagine being without our family.

I am thankful for the way he served his nation, the way he served his family, and the way he served his Lord.  And kind of sad that he was the first.

2 Responses to “The First”

  1. Lynne Andersen May 21, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    Well said David! I’m sure Dad would approve of this message. Your presence both in person and on line have been a great comfort to us. Love ya! Lynne

  2. Kim Whitmire May 23, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    I remember when he enjoyed ceramics as a hobby, and made everyone a coffee cup with their names on it. Everwhere we lived over the years, those coffee cups always came with us, and I always thought of Uncle Roger when I saw them.

    And later, he and I found a common interest in gardening. We attended the annual Park Seed festival one year, and I still have a bunch of ajuga in my side yard he gave me from his yard. Like those coffee cups, I will always fondly think of Uncle Roger when I see the ajuga. Rest in peace Uncle Roger!

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