If you haven’t ever experienced how precious life truly is in your daily walk I ask you to stop and pay closer attention to your family, your co-workers, your relatives, neighbors, etc. You get the idea. Know that deep down inside that person might just have some turmoil in their souls.
Life is like a roll of toilet paper…the closer it gets to the end the faster it goes. I’ll let your imagination run with that one for a minute.
Think about that person you may have just spoke with either over the phone or in person or even via email or Facebook. That could very well be the last time you “speak” with this individual. Not to sound too morbid but it is a fact of life.
Time is a gift from God! God gave you a heart to love with, God gave you the ability to create Heaven on Earth. Think about that as it sure beats what the opposite is.
I wanted to share this blog near the end of the 18th year of remembering the death of my childhood friend, Brian Williams. This is an open letter I wrote for the Williams family that I wanted to share. I gave it to them at the conclusion of the grieving process and it gave me a tiny bit of therapy trying to grasp the death of this good young man. Please allow me to share this with you:
February 8, 1998
Words cannot describe what I have just experienced with burying my dearest and closet friend that I have ever had. My heart is heavy as I write this and my guess is probably always will be.
I cannot think of a time where I have been without Brian Williams. I can recall Brian entering into my life around the third grade at Highland Baptist Church and having the same classroom in June Moore’s fourth grade and inaugural class at Forest Hills School. RA’s and basketball was a big part of all of our lives at that time.
Brian was always the perfect gentleman, polite and quick to apologize for doing something or someone wrong.
One could not find a more genuine family than the Robert & Jo Williams family and all the in-laws that come with them–Regina and Doug. You all are second family to me and have always treated me and my family with the same respect that yours have deserved. You all are a class act that will remain near and dear to my heart for allowing me to put Brian through some of the things we got into. He kept a lot of us from harm’s way. The attitude and perseverance that you all showed really was a testimony in and of itself. You all showed what God can do for one’s life if you let Him take control. What a witness you were at the services that were held. He did not die in vain!
I received the tragic news while in Brian’s favorite place (cough-cough) Auburn, Alabama on business. Brian always cringed at hearing those words and was quick to point out to me while I was a student at Auburn that I could do like some of his cousins that attended Auburn and maintained their loyalty to the University of Alabama, wear the crimson and white proudly on campus. I immediately pulled out of Auburn with tears running down my cheeks not sure if I would make it home that night saying a big Warrr Chicken for my Bama buddy Brian to hear. One of Brian’s favorite things to say.
I am not sure that I will ever recover being in Birmingham and not there with you all to see and visit and recollect/share some more of the great memories we have of Brian. I have backtracked a dozen times to find what I could have done differently with Brian. I know there is no way to change what has happened. I always let him know before we would say our farewells that I loved him like my own brother and it would be kudos from Brian with a smile and a tip of fingers from his brow in that deep voice we all knew Brian to have-“see ya later Kelly.” The last time we were together Brian helped me fix my cigarette lighter so that I could plug in a car phone charger. Never with a moan or question just “let’s take a look at it.” He had a tough week unloading/pulling cable and he comes to visit one weekend with sore bones and muscles and all. Unbeknownst to him I had five yards of dirt ordered that was to be dropped on my side yard and use it to fill in an area. No questions or complaints–“where’s the shovel” and we filled area with the dirt.
I will be selfish in saying that he was “my Brian” because I was proud to say that “this is my buddy here with me.” My sister Donna and I have always caught ourselves saying those words about Brian. I have introduced Brian to someone and he immediately was their friend as well. This did happen to me the last few days I was in Florence paying our last respects, getting to hear the wonderful things he had done for them or just being there and being their friend. I now have a couple of people that I can call friend because of him and to be able to share some of those grand times we all had. The “A” team, as we were so bold to call ourselves during the run-around days of terrorizing Florence have had and will always share something special-the kind of friendship that lasts a long time. I don’t know if all of us know this yet, perhaps it will sink in one day. There aren’t too many relationships like the one we have had over the years.
As a tribute to Brian I requested just this week that my new company vehicle be “flaming red”. I knew he would enjoy seeing that color parked in my garage. It was the closet I could get to the Alabama “Crimson and White.”
I sincerely believe that God did have a purpose for Brian being single. He was able to reach out to more people and spread himself out all over to those that he loved and cared about. Doug’s sister mentioned to me at the service that whenever she Brian I wasn’t that far behind. Another friend of mine here in Birmingham also became a friend of Brian’s while visiting here said that we have to be careful because more people see the two of us together and not me with my own wife. That was okay with Mel as she knew that when Brian was in town that he and I would be out together and she appreciated the friendship we had.
We didn’t mourn the loss of a son, brother or friend, we were rejoicing with the Lord who had taken Brian home to be with Him and he was whole again. Brian will be sorely missed by a lot of people, none more than I. It go me wondering if he might have looked up Bear Bryant or perhaps my dad first.
God bless all the Williams family!
God turns every difficult, loss & separation into something good. Rest assured of that. Learn to love more faithfully to all people.