Below is a picture and some words Will and myself put together for a former neighbor, although I am not sure she ever received it.She is a former neighbor because her husband, about my age, died of cancer a few years ago and not too long after, she had to move. There family affected my life in many ways. For example, it is doubtful I would have the nerve to write this if wasn’t for them. I have on occasion been called anti-social by some not others; anyway, I am one of those guys who says,’ I not a funeral person’. I am not sure what a funeral person looks like, but, I knew I wasn’t one. People like me believe everyone will be happier if we don’t go. I was home schooling my son Wyatt, so I was in a bit of dilemma. I have no problem rationalizing my own goofy thoughts, but draw the line at teaching them to others. So we went.
Chris’s funeral changed my mind about a lot of things. It was a reasonable large funeral and I knew very few of the people there. Lisa (the wife) and his two kids were kind and seem to appreciate our presence. I told Wyatt we would sit in the very back that way we could pay our respects and be reasonably sure we weren’t bothering anyone. OK, so maybe I pass along some of my goofy thoughts. We sat in back. At one point toward the end, the minister asked if anyone had anything they wanted to say. There were nice some little stories, but none that spoke to the Chris I knew. I told Wyatt, “to use Pastor Carl’s vernacular, the Lord as put it on my heart to say a few words”. So I marched up to front and took a really deep breathe and said, most of you don’t know me, I am Wade. I have only known Chris for about twelve years and I am just a neighbor. But that’s the thing, if you live by the Brummet’s there is no such thing as just a neighbor. I am no biblical scholar but I’m pretty sure Jesus had something to say about the topic. He seems to think it was kind of a big deal.
When you have a special needs son like I do, it is easy for people to walk on by, to not get involved. I was certainly not looking for anyone to get involved. This was my problem and I would do my best to handle it. That is not what happened. The Brummet’s did more than stop. Lisa had a background in nursing and offered to watch Wyatt and Will. We accepted, for first time in several years I went out for dinner with just my wife. Their two kids, who were older than mine and definitely higher on the cool scale; befriended my two kids. Nothing a parent can do helps their kids confidence as much as being accepted by an older, cool kid. Will went with them to all their church youth activities, including 3 day camps. It is still the only times Will as spent a night without his sister,mom or me. So if someone asks me who is my neighbor, I will know the answer. If someone asks what was Chris’s legacy , he was as a good neighbor and a family man. ( pointing to his kids)Those two young, and do mean young adults are a walking tribute; Did you noticed how they have conducted themselves during a very difficult time, and on this most difficult day.
I quickly walked down the aisle and motioned to Wyatt to follow me. When I went through the back doors into the lobby area, a man ask me to come over and sit down; there are some people want to speak to you. Trying not look petrified in front of my son, I said sure. I spent the next forty-five minutes having people I didn’t know tell me how much they appreciated my words. Lisa also made it clear how much my thoughts meant to her. When it was all over, I turned to Wyatt and said, ‘some people just never quit teaching you important lessons’. As we pulled in the driveway , I asked Wyatt, ‘what did you learn today?’ He thought for a minute and said, “Sometimes you have to risk rejection to be nice.” I smiled and said, “maybe, just maybe, I am not a complete failure.”