My friend Kenny died last week. He was 58. He leaves behind his wife of 39 years, his only son, his daughter-in-law, 3 beautiful grandchildren, his mother, and innumerable extended family and friends who loved him. He had a heart attack quite unexpectedly and died at church in a meeting.
My heart aches with missing him, and I cannot imagine how his family must feel. His son gave a beautiful eulogy, and ended with saying that he hopes to be as good a husband and father as his dad was, but he doesn't know how to be himself without his dad. They were best friends and did most things together. They recorded 2 CDs together, which fulfilled a dream of Kenny's. I know my world would be turned upside down if I lost my dad, and I don't get to see him every day because we live so far apart.
Kenny loved music. He particularly loved the Beatles, and the funeral people found an interesting CD with funeral music arrangements of Beatles songs to play. Apparently Kenny had said he didn't want funeral music at his funeral someday, but the Beatles. I can't say I cared for the funeral-ish versions of their music, but I suppose it was an acceptable compromise. I do wonder if Kenny would have cringed at those arrangements.
Kenny and I were both on the praise team at our church. Even though I only knew him for a little over a year and a half, I saw him every week and we shared music and laughter together. He shared those things with everyone. We had a little inside joke about one of the songs we performed, and in listening to people talk about their experiences with Kenny, I think he had an inside joke with just about everyone. It was a great way to connect with people.
I learned some things about Kenny during his eulogy that made me wish I'd had more time to get to know him and that my husband had had the same opportunity. He loved Star Trek and Star Wars, and so do we. He was also into science fiction and space, and loved model rockets. Todd would have loved that!
Kenny's son told a story about starting a Star Wars fan club with his dad and some friends, and how much his dad loved being a part of that. One night Kenny fell asleep while watching a movie and startled himself awake, and the other guys were laughing. He just looked at them and said, "As you were." (I think this is a Star Trek quote, but I can't be sure.) That's how Brad ended his eulogy: by telling us all, "As you were."
We had a get-together at our house on the 4th of July for our praise team, and Kenny and his lovely wife, Renae, came and brought the most amazing baked beans. I didn't learn until after they arrived that they had a family dinner at their house, and had sat their family down to eat and then came over to join us. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. He and Renae said we'd have to get together with the kids, and I was looking forward to getting to know them as part of our North Carolina family.
The best thing about Kenny is that although I know he would not have chosen to leave his life on earth just yet, everyone knew how much he loved them. His family knew beyond all doubt that he adored them and were the most important thing to them. He didn't leave any broken relationships behind. We all miss him terribly, but I don't believe there are any regrets of things we didn't get to say. I hope the same will be said about me, someday.
Thanks, Kenny, for being a great friend. I will miss you greatly and look forward to seeing you in heaven.