When I wrote this, I never imagined it would be printed and distributed to visitors in a funeral parlor – to family and friends who lovingly paid their last respects to a man who had a profound influence on their lives. I never imagined the sheer number of people who would read it and tell me how accurately it described their father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, friend...
Instead, I hoped that the man for whom it was written would make a miraculous recovery and read it when he returned home from the hospital. Unfortunately it did not work that way.
Mack Harvie Reed - a strong, generous, loving man - passed away April 30 in his ICU hospital bed in Mobile, Alabama.
After much heartbreaking deliberation, the family decided to take him off the ventilator Thursday morning. The doctors had taken away our last glimmer of hope, saying he would more than likely never wake up from his coma. And if he did, the chances of severe brain damage were very high. He’d never be the man we remembered. His quality of life would never be the same.
At 5:30 Thursday evening, after seven hours without breathing assistance, Grandpa was gone. As I tearfully watched him draw his last breath, I tried to find peace in knowing that he was no longer in pain. Still, the sadness was almost overwhelming.
The next few days were filled with family stories – a mixture of tears and laughter as we remembered the life of a wonderful man.
Grandpa had a beautiful military funeral yesterday morning, complete with a twenty-one gun salute. Local Marines presented Grandma with the American flag. As I stood there in the rain, listening to the final notes of Taps, I couldn’t help but wish he was there – if only to see the number of people who showed up to say goodbye.
Although we’ll no longer get to see his face or hear his deep, baritone voice, I know his spirit will live on in the values he instilled and the memories he helped create.
Grandpa – we know you’re in a better place, but we sure will miss you.