Three years ago, on December 3, a friend of mine died. It's described in his obituary as "died suddenly," but truth be told, he'd been dying a little everyday since his partner, Tom, left this earth.
I was working the afternoon I got the call about Ken; one of the nurses upstairs had heard the bad news and in a hospital bad news spreads quickly. Another nurse covered the rest of my shift, I ran home and changed clothes for the funeral.
The church was decorated for Christmas and lit with candles. Every pew was taken with family, friends, co-workers, ex-patients. The music was amazing, including a bagpiper whose sounds filled the space to the rafters. The minister broke down twice crying during the homily.
What I remember, though, everytime I think of Ken, or think I see him at the hospital, or on a neighborhood street, or at the local IGA, is the instruction the minister gave us. Ken's death came at the start of Advent, and while we were trying to wrap our brains around the emptiness and grief we felt, she instructed us to think of Ken at this and every Advent, to emulate his generosity and gifts to the community. She instucted us to "shine his light."
Ken did some amazing things in his lifetime, and through his kindness gave care to many who had been shunned and abandoned. He left a clear path of footsteps to follow.
So, Ken, just wanted to say I miss you. Blessed Advent right back at ya.