The world lost a beautiful spirit today as my e-mail pal Jack passed away.
I met him right after I started work, doing an interview with him about how he used to run a small-town grocery store that did house-to-house delivery.
When I was there, he mentioned that his wife was in a nursing home and he was lonely. I gave him my card and said to e-mail me if he ever wanted to just chat.
That turned into a beautiful, four-year friendship. We started out e-mailing a couple of times a day. Lately it had been once a week, but that is more than I talk to some of my closest friends that are my age.
We talked about his wife and her eventual passing, his life growing up, his life in the Navy, his life now. I talked about my trips, my work, my marriage. He grumbled about his health and aging and I grumbled about the predicaments in my life.
We visited in person a couple of times, and he always sent me home with candy even though he couldn't eat it himself because he couldn't eat much sugar.
It was a chance encounter, and I am so glad that I handed him my card.
So many elderly people are overlooked because they aren't in the throws of society. However, they have so much wisdom to impart. Jack encouraged me to put my husband first and to give, even when it's not noticed. He said that he did little things his wife probably didn't notice, and he is sure she did the same. They had a long and happy marriage, what more can you ask for?
Jack made cards for people on his computer. He always told me that he felt silly giving them away, but he had no idea how those little pieces of thoughtfulness touched people. I still have my wedding card and birthday card. Then today, I received a first anniversary card from him and smiled at it. It was just a minute later I checked the messages on my phone and found a voicemail from his daughter-in-law saying he had died.
Nate pulled me into a hug. And then I smiled, because I realized that as a Christian and lover of God he is now dancing in heaven with his wife in his arms. How beautiful when you know that kind of reunion happens for those who trust in Jesus.
Jack was so selfless, even making me an anniversary card when he e-mailed me that he wasn't feeling well and was going in for tests.
All I can say is, what a beautiful man. I am so blessed to have called him my friend, and I told him that many times. My prayers go out to his family, and yet my heart rejoices as I know that he and his wife are happy together in heaven.
I won't ever forget him.