It is true that my writing urge comes to the fore when I am a little more emotional than normal. Some of those who know me well might say that could only be in situations where I am a blithering mess. But I disagree and digress.
I went to a funeral today. A ‘memorial service’. A ‘celebration of the life of….’
Whatever you call it, it was a sad and wonderful experience. Andrew Crossett was my youth group leader when I was in high school – about 1981-ish I reckon. He died at 59 years of age after a quick and nasty Cancer diagnosis. What a prick of a thing.
Some people in your life have substantial impact and Andy was one of those for me. I haven’t seen him for many years yet still feel close to him. His example and knowledge shaped me – there is no doubt.
There were a thousand people at the service today who felt the same way about him and I’m sure there are many more who couldn’t be there. I came to learn the influence he had on people in so many areas of his life. As I sat listening to the stories, I realised a current close friend of mine must know Andrew. I flick off a quick text and there’s my mate Richo on the other side of the church. Andy’s influence is indeed still near and far to me after so many years and neither Richo nor I had any idea that we each knew Andy.
It was one of those days where, when you get home, you want to hug your wife and kids and never leave them again… not that that appears to be at all possible in these ridiculously busy lives that we lead.
I was so distressed and emotional at the end of the service that I was close to doing a runner and heading straight off to work. But the words of Andy’s good friend Stan – also a friend of mine – were still ringing in my ears and I felt I couldn’t go until I at least shared some thoughts. Thank God I did because I was so incredibly glad to then be able to catch up with many old friends for the next hour or so where we contemplated age and life and Andy’s impact on it. I don’t think I’m over-stating it to say that this couple of hours will be something I remember for the rest of my life. Times such as these are so valuable and I’m sure Andy would appreciate that many of us were able to chat and catch up with friends from a distant past.
Andrew Crossett still displaying his influence. What a sad and wonderful occasion.