lexi (nothing2hide) wrote,

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Goodbye yet again

There are people that we meet that ultimately change our life in a substantial way. Another of these important people in my life has passed away. Being away in this seperate world, this disconnected way of life, the effects of this are obviously quite different and yet to be fully realized. To realize the huge impact a person has had on your life and to not be able to communicate that to them in any meaningful way is now something I guess I have to live with. The worst part is having realized this quite some time ago and not having the words or guts to say it. So this is how I try to make due. The news came as a shock, as it has been known to happen before, but cancer was the killer this time around. It is one of those situations where you wish with all your heart that you would have said all the things you needed to before it was too late. Denny ultimately changed my life. Alyssa put it best by saying "He basically ruined church for us." This statement is a huge compliment to him. Sometime 4-5 years ago, Alyssa and I decided we wanted to start going to church. This decision was influenced by another person, but was completely of our own free will (which happens to be one of the topics he extensively discussed). Little did we know that one decision would ultimately change our lives. Previously church was never something we were forced into attending on a weekly basis, but in no time it was something that had become a cannot miss event. It was something to get up in the morning and be excited about each week, never knowing what to expect, but that you come out of it every week with an amazing feeling. He was a smart man, who enjoyed reading especially about the Native Americans. One could expect to hear at least a little Native American wisdom before each sermon. There were some very unforgettable sermons, my favorite being the one that angered a large number of the elderly crowd when he dressed up with a towel on his head and carried a flashlight down the aisle claiming he was a shepard following the Star of Bethlehem. Another of my favorite things he did were the New Years Eve services, which were definitely not a conventional way to spend such an evening and for that reason made it all the more amazing. This New Year's felt a bit empty without it.

When Denny's cancer forced him to retire I selfishly thought of how it would affect me, but soon realized his health obviously was more important than his obligation to our church he so expertly brought together (I can say that I feel apart of a church family when I am there and he is definitely to thank for that). I remember clearly the dinner held in honor of him and the wonderful things he had done for our church. I can also remember holding back tears that night when people were sharing stories of the things he had done for them personally. He changed many lives. Now all I can ever do is compare these other pastors to him, and none can even come close. They are not bad, he was just great at what he did. His age gave him the wisdom and experience that the younger pastors could never compare to. His teachings, in my opinion, focused more on just embracing others and being a compassionate person rather than focusing on God and what religion is supposed to be. He always loved to say "take the negativity and throw it out the window". Our church learned how to welcome outsiders, which was no small feat when considering how stuck in their ways these people who had been going there for decades had become. When the church was lacking a crowd, he made everyone get up and move to the same side and to the front, though not all were willing to follow. He always made sure that the service lasted exactly an hour, and if it was getting close to time he would cut a song short and this and that just to get done so that everyone could get back in time for the pot roast to be cooked. His sermons were usually a string of tangents that somehow came together and made perfect sense. He always called himself crazy and such because of his ADD, but that just made him all the more interesting.

Denny was there for me in some of the most horrible of times. The day after Elyse died he was there, for my grandma's visitation he was there, for my grandpa's funeral he was not physically there but his words made his presence known. During substantial moments in my life, he made an impact. I wish in his time of struggle I could have in some way at least let him know his importance. He had confidence that he would defeat cancer again and was sure it was a blessing that was just reminding him to slow down a bit. I think this happening is a reminder for me to just slow down and enjoy life and appreciate the people in it and to not forget to tell them what they mean to me (or at least attempt to do things to show them how much I really do care about them). Alyssa and I had just been talking about all of these sorts of things just a few days ago and questioning things like the purpose of life and why people don't seem to care anymore and reminiscing about all the people we have lost in a seemingly short period of time. Death has become an occurance that seems to continue to arise and make its presence known. I've become familiar with it and I'm not sure that is anything I would have ever hoped to say at the age of 18.

: A phone call I'd rather not receive... Nobody plans to be half a world away at times like these, so I sat alone and waited out the night. The best part of what has happened was the part I must have missed. So I'm asking you to shine it on and stick around. I'm not writing my goodbyes. I submit no excuse. If this is what I have to do I owe you every day I wake. If I could I would shrink myself and sink through your skin to your blood cells and remove whatever makes you hurt but I am too weak to be your cure. Is this the way a toy feels when its batteries run dry? I am the watch you always wear but you forget to wind :
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