Saturday, February 18, 2012

In Memoriam, and In Celebration

Dan and Terry

        It has been over a year since we lost Dan White on January 26, 2011. I've tried to think about what to say to convey what I, and many others, feel about his loss. I simply can't find the words. He was a great man, but you wouldn't have known it to look at him. He looked pretty average. He was a pleasant looking man, who often wore a baseball cap to cover his receding hairline. He was almost always smiling, and he was always ready to listen. He was a carpet layer, but most people didn't know that. After meeting him and talking to him, most people assumed he was a pastor. And he was, in the truest sense of the word. He didn't have a framed diploma on his wall from any seminary, but he helped God's family grow, and was always doing whatever he could to tend to the Flock. I have known many pastors in my time, but I have only known a few through whom Christ was clearly seen. In everything that Dan did, you could see a reflection of Jesus and his teachings.
        His loss at such a young age- 47- was devastating. I lived in fear of losing my own husband for a few months afterwards. There were no indications of any kind of health problem until he died, very suddenly, and with no fanfare. He was talking on the phone and just fell out of his chair, his heart having quit working. I guess that God blessed him in death as he did in life, by saving him the agony of a long drawn-out death. I have often said that I want to go that way. Just quietly pass away with no deathbed confessions, no pain, or tears.
        Dan and Terry had a beautiful marriage that resulted in 3 wonderful children. Terry told me that she and Dan had talked often about what the other should do if one of them die. Each wanted the other to find someone to love again, to not live in mourning for the rest of their lives. A few months after Dan died, Terry began praying that God would send her a man who would love her and her children, who loved God, and would love her friends. About 6 months after Dan died, God answered her prayers by sending Greg Lawson into her life. Then she prayed, "Lord, really? Now? Isn't it too soon?" She prayed for guidance in these uncharted waters of being a recent widow with 3 children still at home. And God kept pointing her back to Greg, the handsome man she had noticed across a crowded church sanctuary. They began dating in August and became engaged a couple of months later.
        Then she had new challenges to face. Many of her friends were angry and hurt that she dared to fall in love so soon after Dan died. Was she just so ready to forget? Did she not ever truly love Dan? How dare she not wait the proscribed 12 months before putting away her widow's weeds?! Her children were confused, but honestly handled it better than most of the adults in her life did. The kids liked Greg, and he liked them. Finally everyone realized it was going to happen, there was nothing they could do but be happy for the blushing couple, and it wasn't really any of their business anyway. Then the planning began!
        A wedding was planned for December 31, 2012. What started out as a small church wedding with only their closest and dearest, turned into 250 people being invited to share their joy. There was going to be flowers, a huge cake, and a church full of people to celebrate their union. And that's how it went. The weather was fairly nice, the church was full, and there was laughter and joy. A year of so much heartache, pain, and soul-searching ended on a very upbeat note as the happy couple drove away to spend a week in Tennessee.
        At the reception, the pastor of Terry's church stood up to say a few words before the cake was cut. He said that after Terry and Greg walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, he heard Dan's voice in his ear saying, "Thank you, brother". And I think that is the greatest blessing of all.

Dan and Terry

Mr. and Mrs. Greg Lawson

Greg and Terry feeding each other cake


  1. Vinca, this made me tear up. What a beautiful tribute to all of them, and to finding love again.

    1. 2011 was a hard year for Terry, but one that ended in abundant blessings.