Chris: Our Goodbye (for now), Heaven's Bright Hello

Sometimes in life we find, not only the beauty of friends who become family, but we find the beauty of those who helped make these friends they people they are. 

And we find that their hearts extend to us with love and with such kindness, that it will forever impact our lives and never be forgotten. I have had this happen a lot. One such of these families, are the Duncan's. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that one of my dearest friends is Jessie. The Lord put her into my life in the beginning of our college years, and despite our preconceived ideas of each other that may or may not have been true, we became instant friends.

In turn, I have the honor of knowing her family.

When Caleb came into this world, I was a newly college graduated single girl, with no real job or place to go. I had the blessing of working at a retail store with some awesome people during my pregnancy after finishing my degree, but had to move back Orange County.

My sister and brother in law were newly married, and out of the graciousness of their hearts, let us stay in their spare room for two months.

We needed a place to go after that point, and without question, Jessie’s parents, Chris and Beverly, took us in. Caleb was a screaming two month old baby then. They moved their home and lives around for us. They organized, cleaned, and arranged. We had a curtained off enclosure in one of their family rooms. It is there we stayed for about 4-5 months.

Jessie was gone in South Africa during the front end part of that time, so for a while, it was just her parents, Caleb and I with Nik, her younger sister. We regularly ate amazing home cooked family dinners together, we went to art shows together, and would huddle up on the couch and watch movies together. It was there, Caleb had his first Halloween and first Christmas. While my life conditions were in flux, and the Lord had so much to figure out for me (which he surely did in time), I felt at home even the first night there.

All too recently, Chris was diagnosed with an advanced form of prostate cancer which rapidly spread throughout his body. This is the man who checked my tires and randomly picked up spare car parts on the side of the road if he thought we could use it. This is the man who is always faithful, always prayerful for those that he loves. This is the one who in his last days, got out of his recliner to see Caleb dance outside with new friends made. It was the second time he stood that day, and one of the last times he ever stood again.

Today, Chris passed away to be at peace in a glorious new life with the Lord. I am grateful and excited for him, and yet saddened with his family here on Earth.

Every time I saw him leading up to his passing, I saw the progression of his disease, but more than that, I saw his spirit and personality. Even the week leading up to his passing, he was concerned for Caleb’s safety as he dug outside, not wanting him to dig out something sharp. Caleb on the other hand, was and may still be, convinced that what inflicted Chris was “leprosy”. He didn’t understand that it was because Chris’ body could no longer heal itself, so bruises stayed.

The last time I saw Chris was Tuesday. Praise be to God for that opportunity. We prayed. We read Psalms. And I told him of how grateful we are, and how we love him. He could barely speak, yet still told me that he loves us too. He asked where Caleb was. And he took my hand, kissed it, and held it.

This is the man who today, has gone to be with Jesus. And what we get to do know, is forever be grateful for his life, for his gorgeous family whom I am so blessed to know, and pray for their comfort during this terrible time of loss.

And a note on his loving wife, Bev. The last time I saw her with him, she was again, tirelessly caring for him. In that, her tenderness and love was distinctly clear. I have seen no better example of love, of generosity, and of Christ, than from these people in these times, past and present.

Baby Caleb and "Mr. C". 

Baby Caleb and "Mr. C". 

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To Chris, to Bev, to Nik, to Jess-All my love.

Rebekah