Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Long Line of Love

Today was the visitation for my dear neighbor Paul.  If there was any doubt as to what a truly special and wonderful individual he was - one only had to look at the line of people waiting to pay their respects.  The line wrapped around the funeral home and went out the door. Paul's family had 2 visitations today - and both the afternoon visitation and the evening visitation were equally full of people waiting to show their love.  We arrived at the funeral home shortly after the visitation began and stood in line for 2 hours before we were able to pay our respects.  There were that many people in line before us - and just as many people in line after us.  Paul touched so many people's lives and I don't think there was a dry eye in the house.  As we walked in line through the funeral home, there were pictures of Paul and his family everywhere. We got to see Paul as a young boy, a newly engaged man, a just married groom, a brand new father, a brand new grandfather and all the moments in between.  There was a lovely video slideshow of more photos and each one brought a fresh tear and a heartwarming smile. It was incredibly moving to see the photo timeline unwind the memories and special moments in Paul's life. No matter what age Paul was or how many people were in the photo with Paul, you could always pick him out because he was always the one with the smile that would light up a room. In a room full of people that all loved Paul, I could feel how rewarding it is to live a life that is full of optimism, good intentions, hard work and to live by the golden rule. Paul treated everyone with the kindest heart I know. To follow the example that Paul left behind is to live each day with thanks to God, thanks to family, thanks to friends, thanks for the beautiful and bountiful harvest, and to give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon you. I believe we would all do well to follow in Paul's footsteps.  I try each and every day to live with the same enthusiasm and appreciation for life that Paul had. I know that Paul was up in heaven today, waving at all of us as he drove by in his gator, picking up golf balls, feeling the breeze in his hair, grateful to have lived a life so well loved. I can see his bright beautiful smile every time I close my eyes and in his smile, I know that he will live inside my heart forever.

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