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Living Between Life and Death: A Tribute to Uncle Hal


Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. -Brené Brown

Today I gave a message at the Eugene Mennonite Church and below here is the take away.

I would like each of you to consider if you only had 6 days left on Earth, like Uncle Hal had from the day he admitted on hospice – are you living the life you want to be living? Do those you love and cherish know how you define a good death -for an instance do you want to die at home, amongst family or friends? And, are you in pain? How are you sharing your pain with others? Please do not suffer alone.
I leave you with this…
Grief never ends…but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…It is the price of love.



Letter to My Uncle

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Letter to My Uncle

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My Dearest Uncle Hal,

There never has been a day in my life where you did not exist.  You are the epitome of a great father. The grief I feel right now is that I will have to learn a new way to relate to you as you pass through this life.

You’ve provided me with love, food, shelter, a home, hope, patience, acceptance, security, honesty, humor, grace, compassion, spirituality, forgiveness, analytical thinking, mathematical curiosity…I cannot imagine what my life would have been like, without you. Your home has always been home to me.  Your love unquestionable.

I love your stories, teachings, thinking, spirit.  You have taught me the perfection of imperfection, that turning to wonder is both acceptable and necessary.

When I think of you I automatically see your smile, the sparkle in your eyes, the tenor of your voice, the gentleness and strength of spirit.  I hear you playing piano, singing music, holding hands, building a fire.  I see you at the pulpit, in the classroom, walking the perimeter of your home, biking across streets, driving a Volvo, being at Camp Myrtlewood, in the shop making all kinds of mess & noise, talking & walking with Jack, writing, planning and scheming with your pencil & paper, fixing something with your tools, cooking in the kitchen, kissing your precious Gayle, laughing with your children, and playing with your darling grandchildren.  I’ve learned to drive because of you, took my first rafting trip with you, helped build ramps, built and took down forts, talked a lot of shop.  Completely honored, I walked down that isle with you on my wedding day,

Uncle, not only have you given, but you have received.  You have taught me the value and necessity of both and how they can be provided without shame, guilt, or recourse.

Thank you from the depth of my soul, from the bottom of my being.  For always, without a doubt, being an exceptional man, father, grandfather – a wonderful human being.

May we all live in such a way that always honors you.

All My love,