We are only beginning to process our loss and all the major life changes that are coming in waves.
But before I write another sentence -- this: We've had such an outpouring of love from family, friends, co-workers and bosses, church family, and online family! Your love has been the comforting, healing, sustaining grace of Jesus with skin on. We love you all so dearly.
Last Friday was the visitation.
Saturday was the funeral.
We had another funeral for a beloved neighbor on Monday.
We've had continual company(who is so welcome and loved!), and of course - our 5 young kids.
Ronna(my mother-in-law) went back to work Wednesday.
Sunday is Jason's birthday. He'll be 37. 37 is how old his dad was when he had Jason.
It's just a whirlwind, you know? Our feelings and thoughts are all chopped up.
But today is Friday. And Uncle Ronald is here with us, right now as I type these words. He always came to visit his brother on Fridays - even long after James had forgotten him due to his dementia.
Now, Ronald comes to visit us.
This reminded me, again, of the precious words my husband shared at his dad's funeral.
So though I'll share more later, today I wanted to share the slideshow and words Jason prepared in memory of his father. As an only child, Jason knew he wanted to share about his dad and the precious relationship he had with him. Jason cried many tears, and spent many hours preparing and practicing so he could get the words out, and share well.
And he did! I'm so proud of you, dear!
So many of you who attended the funeral were touched by the picture-love and words he shared. Jason wanted to make sure anyone who wanted to have a copy, could.
Here is the Legacy of James Hurd Slideshow:
Written Legacy of James Hurd as shared by my husband, Jason:
(there is a video at the end as captured by my sweet sister, Shannon)
"Good morning dear family & friends,
First off, I want to take this opportunity to personally thank each and everyone of you who have come here today to honor and celebrate my father's life - and to support my mother and myself through this difficult transition. The outpouring of love, support and generosity is beyond measure and I treasure it all deeply…
I am curious, if I asked what you believe to be James Hurd's greatest life legacy, what would you say? I want you to know that I am very interested to hear your answer. For the next several minutes I'm going to share with you the legacy my father has left for me personally, but I am confident that by your love and support here today that my father’s life has likely resonated with you also in one way or another…
I chose to begin with perhaps the most obvious...
Let's face it, I did not have a choice in the matter, rather it was predestined for me, that I was to become a fisherman! The proof is in the memories shared here today... I have COUNTLESS wonderful memories of fishing trips with dad that I will forever cherish. One of which involves his personal best flounder weighing in @ 7lbs, 12oz. I had the privilege to net this fish - I am quite delighted that I was successful (I was 9 at the time!). If you had the privilege to fish with dad then you are likely familiar with his fishing philosophy that big bait equals big fish - and he proved this philosophy many times over, and I know several of you here today are witness to that as well... I can see now dad gave me the legacies of fishing, an appreciation for nature and sharing his passion…
Dad gave 4 years of service to the United States Air Force, he served 2 terms to the Shoreacres Pier Association and, while mentally able, he voted at every opportunity… I can see now dad gave me the legacy of investing service to things that matter to you…
The majority of dad's working life is characterized by tough labor. Many of those years included a lot of overtime hours, long, laborious shifts and at times rotation of shifts, which is difficult on any person. But dad endured and did what he felt he had to in order to provide a living for his family... I am can see now dad gave me the legacy of hard work and providing for your family…
As most of you know, a large part of my life has been spent playing soccer, and throughout the duration I had the support from both mom and dad. I will never forget the early matches and how dad would intentionally plan for time in the logistics to grab some McDonald’s breakfast along the way. Generally, sausage biscuits were the ticket but occasionally we would spring for the big breakfast which came with pancakes. On a side note, McDonald's breakfast typically played a role in our morning fishing trips also. I will never forget the times spent at little cedar bayou park after school. I would knock the ball around on the field while dad walked the park hunting stray golf balls, and once he returned he would usually jump in the goal and let me take shots on him. But any chance he had to grab the ball, he would punt it as high and as far as he could just to make me run after it. And as the ball flew suspended in the air, dad laughed & giggled like a kid... I can see now dad gave me the legacies of play and bonding…
Dad loved my mother immensely, and during his lifetime they celebrated 45 years of marriage together. Even in the late stages of his illness, dad certainly knew and recognized mom. He looked out the window and watched for her to come home from work every day and he shadowed her around the house. He listened to her and followed her instruction. Mom loved dad well too. She endured much fatigue, stress, inconvenience and frustration in the name of care and servitude. She kept Dad’s well-being as the highest priority. That, is love… I can see now that my parents gave me the legacies of selfless love, devotion and commitment…
During this last year, as I was losing my dad - I also gained a son. Dad was about my age when he became a father. This has helped me see, with fresh eyes, how he loved me, looked at me and shared life with me - and many of the pictures shared today reflect it. He pushed me to excel in school and soccer, and he always wanted great things for me… I can see now dad gave me the legacy of the joy in fatherhood…
My father was the biggest and strongest man I've known. Many of my friends would share with me how intimidating he seemed, and though I would agree - dad also carried a certain gentleness and kindness. You could see it in his eyes and smile, but also in his approach to others. Even during the worst times of his illness, dad never showed violence or aggression toward us... I can see now dad gave me the legacy of strength with great gentleness…
For the past 2 years I have been privileged and honored to serve and care for my father through this battle. However, I must add that my mother carried this load by herself for much longer and she will forever hold my adoration in this regard. During my 2 years of service, I had to see my father in some of the most vulnerable moments of his life. The last week was the absolute hardest. By that, I mean it was the hardest for mom & I. Dad remained gentle, peaceful and calm. Throughout his final decline, dad never struggled or showed any signs of discomfort. When he breathed his last and departed peacefully, even our hospice nurse with 14 years experience in her position shared with us how peaceful dad appeared and seemed. I felt thankful for having her care and experience with us through this tough transition... I can see now dad gave me the legacy of caring for the vulnerable…
The Lord works in mysterious ways. His plans and paths surpass the limits of our understanding. The circumstance of dad’s battle with illness is no exception. Over the past few years, his brother Ronald would faithfully visit every week. While dad was able, going out to lunch became the routine. As dad’s condition worsened, Ronald then brought lunch over to the house. As dad’s appetite fluctuated, Ronald would arrive with a milkshake. For at least the past year, dad’s recognition of his brother left him - but Ronald continued to faithfully stopover. The visits now have a new purpose. The dazzling little spirits of my four daughters simply LIGHT UP when he comes through the door as they rush to hug his legs and anxiously await what snacks or gifts he might have brought as they exclaim “Uncle Ronald, Uncle Ronald!!” My children have had to say good-bye to their Paw-Paw, but they have gained a wonderful relationship with his brother. I, too, am a benefactor from this development. Relationship with neighbors and local law enforcement have deepened too, because all have been involved in caring for and protecting dad… I can see now the Lord has blessed my family with multiple silver linings throughout the challenging journey surrounding care for dad.
Though difficult, I am thankful for this opportunity to share on my father's behalf and to celebrate his life with all of you. I now get the chance to share his legacies with my children, his grandchildren, and I pray I will succeed as he did. I cherish the memories and miss him deeply, but I also must take comfort in knowing his illness is no more and he has been restored…
Forever my eternal fishing partner.
I love you dad, forever & always."
* * *
* * *
We love you guys.
We know most of you know - but we've got to say it anyway: Jesus has been so present, so good, so loving to us. He is our Hiding Place, our Comfort, our Counselor, our Rock and yes, our steady Joy. Our Prince of Peace. Our Mighty God. He is the Resurrection and the Life. He is Love.
He is perfect in all of His ways. He is our Good, Good Father.
And James is safely home with Him.