Him, my shy and quiet one. You, gregarious and full of life. Him, at 6’1”. You, perhaps 5’6”. An unlikely friendship.

Yet, you fished, and laughed, and talked, and shared struggles, and shared faith, and lunched, and … did I say laughed? No one makes him laugh like you. We’d be walking, he and I, and he’d get a call from you. A text that made him grin. Plans that made him smile. A joke that gave him an honest-to-goodness, hardy belly laugh. He counted on you to understand when and how he falls short of the man I know he is. You fueled his faith, and he, yours.

Breaking through the quiet exterior wasn’t nearly as hard as you anticipated, and you saw the gem that is my husband. When a friend asked you how you ever came to know him, you responded that he was well worth the effort.

If only I had a nickel for every hour you two spent on Lake Erie together.  Today, as he fussed over his tackle box, the tears flowed. As we ate dinner, he opened up. He loved you, Paul. In less than forty eight hours, he will help carry your casket, and lower your body into the ground. But you won’t be there. How fitting, that the day we celebrated Christ’s victory over death, is the day that you slipped into eternal life.  Someday, we will join you.  Until then, you will be sorely missed.

Marie Elena

Photo by Keith R. Good

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