Notes from a Funeral

11351134_945639665488447_6411305144031910682_nOctober 14th, 2016, way out in the middle of almost nowhere and a little past Bucky’s, I attended a memorial celebration for one who lived and loved well.

The oldest of six brothers, Ricky was a big brother to more than his five younger siblings. He was a big brother to all who needed or wanted a big brother. He just could not help it. It was his position in his family and a call in life.

For that, I am eternally grateful.collected-works-seasons-7-1-friends-abstract-acrylic-painting

Darla and Ricky fell in love while they were in high school and that is how I came to know them. Through the trombone section of the San Marcos High School marching band and First Baptist Church youth group.

Two years older –JUNIORS!- when one is a freshman, seems significantly OLDER! When Ricky died two years older suddenly seem exceedingly too young.

Truth be told, both Darla and Ricky were wiser and kinder than their years.  

Ricky played the trombone. I played the trombone. He was a protective big brother for me. Darla is, and alwaycolor-11-4-blue-abstract-acrylic-paintings was, kind and generous. She folded me into her heart and her collective of friends at church and in the band. As a shy freshman I found eye contact difficult. The kindness and love of these two brought me out of myself and introduced me to the world. It was as if they could see the me that I did not know existed.

Ricky would have celebrated his 58th birthday this Friday, the 27th.

Today I found my notes from the wedding. Wow, I just typed wedding rather than memorial service. I am going to leave it because Ricky would find my mistake amusing and the service was truly a celebration. A coming together of family, friends, and strangers to support Darla, family, friends, and strangers.

Darla shared their key to their happiness.In The Image

We did not spend any time being angry with each other.
Every day – love.”

Can you even imagine not wasting time being angry?

Darla continued,

“Don’t waste Ricky’s legacy. Tell the ones you love that you love them.”


Family and friends testified to the witness of Ricky’s life at the memorial celebration. I took notes. The testimony of my funeral would be less. Unexpected death invites the living to wake up. Personally, I am making changes.

Here I share highlights and wisdom from a live well lived.

Never take yourself too seriously.

Be generous.

Judge not.

Condemn not.

Love the people you meet. ALL of them.

Make people’s lives better.

The past hurts. You can run from it or you can learn from it.

NOW. Live now.

Be present. Be passionate for life.

Being present. Be passionate for family.

Tuck, roll, and run.

Love deeply.

Welcome strangers.

Look beyond appearances.

Be magic.

Everyone who loves knows God. (1 John 4:7)

Do not waste time being angry.

Sky dive.

Grace is amazing.

If you want to be loved – love.

Buzzards do not make the best pets.

Meditate on goodness, mercy and grace.

Climb up on the roof and holler BOO! (Scare people, just a little)

Consider how you are treating others.

Carry on.

Help with chores that are not yours.

Live adventurously.

Living the gospel is better than preaching the gospel.

Be good news.


Fear not.

There are things more important than being a good cook.

Be kind to each other.


Take joy in those you love.

Do your best and that is enough.

Take initiative

Rejoice….Be anxious for nothing…pray…the peace of God

will guard your hearts and minds.

240-IMG_0298Darla and Ricky were instrumental in shaping my life.

They treated me as if I were important in their lives.

I was 14. Now I am 56.

I still want to be like Darla and Ricky when I grow up.

I hope it is not too late.

Happy birthday, Ricky.

I love you, Darla.

Thank you.


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2 Replies to “Notes from a Funeral”

  1. Thank you Gwen! What a beautiful tribute to a most amazing man. We loved you as a 14 year old and will continue always. I still feel Ricky’s love every day but surely do miss his hugs. I am so glad that you were there for his celebration and that we got to see you and your family in recent years. Love you, Darla

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