Early on June 4th, we received an e-mail from Kevin’s parents sharing that his Uncle David had passed away in a car accident that morning. It was a difficult e-mail to wake up to, one that we would had hoped never to receive. We talked and cried with one another and family and decided that it would be best for Kevin to go home to be with his family during this time. It was a difficult and emotionally draining week, but it was one filled with family time, reflecting on David’s legacy.
As Kevin was flying home, I received a call from our first host mother Damarys that her sister had passed away that morning. She asked me to join them at the wake and burial that afternoon. I went, we cried and mourned the loss the of her sister and in a way, it was very healing for me. As I walked the three kilometers, with hundreds in the hot Managua sun from her home to the cemetery, I couldn’t help but think of Kevin and his family back home. Even though I could not be with Kevin and his family during this difficult time, it was a reminder that loss and death are everywhere. It has the same sting and it brings the same grief, no matter where you are.
Kevin recently wrote this beautiful memoir of his Uncle David. May he be remembered today and always, what a gentle and generous man. We will miss him!
We spent countless hours “changing oil” in the shop, a routine we both knew well and loved. We enjoyed the mornings; the newness, the quiet and the intimacy it afforded us. I knew that when I pulled onto the yard a little after 5, it would not be long before he would appear in the standard uniform of jeans and a t-shirt, his customary dress no matter the season, which was only slightly modified when he realized the comfortability of suspenders for his large frame.
Of course, we did change the oil. As I went through this process David would meticulously look over the car, applying a little grease, noticing a belt that was wearing or another area that needed attention. However, mostly, we would sit and chat. We talked about life, where we both had come from and how we found ourselves there in Dave’s shop during those early mornings. In those times we would often talk about walking through hardships and what it meant to be faithful through the joys and difficulties of life.
David was an amazing man, a caring, humorous, thoughtful, loving and calm presence in many lives. I think that those who knew him were all touched by his kindness. A person whose spirit is hard to describe to those who never had the pleasure of meeting this kind soul. David is missed by many, his loving wife and four wonderful sons.
It will be awhile before I see David lumbering out the door, greeting me with his grin and his firm handshake my hand engulfed in his, my body crushed by his firm hug as we say goodbye. For now, I have those talks, like so many others do, and I have his example, a sturdy and solid rock amongst a moving sea.