Friday, September 5, 2008

Celebrating Cousin Fred

This has been an emotional week. As we reflect on a special life that was lost many years ago (see post below), we also remember and celebrate a life that passed into the hands of God early Saturday morning.

My cousin Fred was a diabetic, and was in need of a kidney transplant. He had a variety of medical issues in the past years related to that situation, but one thing about Fred was constant.

His infectious, kind smile.

For many weeks he had been in the hospital with some of these diabetic complications. Due to infection, they first had to take two of his toes, and then amputate the bottom part of his leg. After this, Fred was up and down medically. He was in a coma like state for much of this time, but many times when he was aware he had visitors he would give them that smile. Early last Saturday morning, after a hard fought battle, Fred closed his eyes and God welcomed him home.

His passion in life included growing things, the University of Georgia "Dawgs" and last but never least, his family and friends. You could usually find him at the "Old House" preparing for a gathering, or driving his truck around our small town to visit with his friends. God gave him the gift of a green thumb, and he worked with his youngest brother in the landscaping business. He was not a church going man, but knew and believed in Him. He was saved.

Yesterday over 200 people gathered at the Old House to celebrate his life. This is not where he laid his head at night, that was just around the bend at the family's main house. But the Old House is a very special place. It is the oldest building left in our county, and is a part of their side of our family's history.

Fred had become the main caretaker of this old place, and it was where many of us had birthday parties, baby showers, wedding showers, graduation parties, huge Halloween parties, hunting breakfasts and cookouts... and where folks gathered just because it was a Friday night. He loved being with all of his family and friends, and welcomed everyone.

As we stood under one of the tents yesterday afternoon, right outside the Old House, my cousin and best friend Dixie, his niece, said it best. Fred is everywhere there. His legacy is in the newly planted flowers that he tended so carefully, his brothers and their families, and he is a big part of the long and treasured history of that special gathering place.

After everyone left, the immediate family stayed for one of the things that Fred wanted most. He was cremated, and they spread his ashes among the flower beds around the old house.

I am certain Fred is smiling still, now reunited with his parents and no longer in any pain.


Anonymous said...

A sweet tribute to a wonderful man. It's always nice to remember all the good memories to counteract the sorrow of losing someone we love!

Prasti said...

beautifully sorry about your loss.

Kelsey said...

I am so sorry for your loss!

Zip n Tizzy said...

Before even reading your post, my first thought was "what a smile.:
He looks like a kind man, and was clearly loved.
I'm sorry for your loss.

mamajil said...

I am so sorry for your loss.
My prayers go out to your family!

Ashley @ said...

Oh I am so sad for you all. That "Old House" he took care of looks pretty magical. Special people usually carry their light around and spread it everywhere they touch. You can see he did that at that place. I'd love to spend a Friday night hanging out there!