I haven't written since Tuesday. That's because Vern, one of the four guys in the retirement home, the one who wasn't doing well health wise, passed away.
His funeral's next week and I'm going to say something at it. I'm racking my brain trying to think of what to say.
Vern's passing is a real blow. It's hard for his family, it's hard for his friends.
When I first met Vern, I had no idea he was that ill. He knew he was. Jim, Tommy and R.J. knew. They are the three guys who were his best friends. They saw each other every day at the nursing home. Tommy and R.J. grew up with Vern. Jim met him when he moved to the area to get a job back when he was 16. They laughed and argued and debated and shared over the years. They went to each other's weddings and they shared the good and bad times.
It really makes me sad to think of Jim, Tommy and R.J. without Vern around.
He was the one who always joked and made everyone laugh.
That's one reason I had no idea he was ill.
Jim says that when Vern knew what was up he said he wasn't going to mope and what was happening was happening so he was just going to enjoy the time he had left.
His children knew and they're feeling remorse right now because they "meant" to visit and they "intended" to visit and all the other things we tell ourselves we'll do tomorrow right before we go to bed but then don't make the time for.
Vern got on at the sanitation department and he got Jim, Tommy, R.J. and another friend who died four years ago on too.
Jim hated his old job and says that was Vern for you, always making sure the people around him were taken care of. Tommy told me about how Vern was a deacon in the church and took it really seriously.
R.J. told me about how Vern was there when R.J. retired and shortly after, R.J.'s wife said she wanted out of their marriage.
The workers at the retirement home told me about how Vern would always go around helping and making sure that everyone is okay. He was "sharp" one guy told me and he'd know when someone was needing extra attention or was having problems.
A deacon at my church now told me about how Vern coached his little league team.
I'm thinking about all those stories and more and trying to figure out what to say. He's a man who touched a lot of people's lives and he didn't have any time for feeling sorry for himself.
I think I'm really lucky to have known him for the short time that I did. I think everyone that knew him for any length of time was pretty lucky.