Tribute to Lyle

I have a parishioner who is dying…

…that’s news that is nothing new to me.  I have had a number of parishioners die in the 4 1/2 years I have been here.  All of them are hard; being with families as they mourn…you can almost feel their pain and loss.  But this week I am being quickly reminded that the longer I am here the more difficult these times become.  And I think it is especially hard this time since my wife and I have become so close to Lyle.  I try not to play favorites but one can not help but develop closer relationships with certain people.  And with Lyle, he has become something of a grandpa to Connie and I.

Lyle is nearing the end with a long bought with cancer.  Last year his wife died and I know that has been extremely hard for him (and all of us).  These past few days I have spent a lot of time at the hospital with the family and with Lyle.  Yesterday we thought he was going to go home.  He was saying “Good bye everyone“.  The family huddle around him to say good bye then he said, “Pastor, pastor”  I said said, “I am right here Lyle“.  “Please tell Connie for me“.  Tears started streaming down my face.  That was Monday…

…today is Tuesday and Lyle is still with us.  Part of me is glad (the selfish side) because I get more time with him.  But another part of me is wishing he could/would go home, because he is dealing with some pain.  I am torn.  But what is getting me and the whole family through is that Lyle is so ready to go home.  His faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior is stronger than I have seen in anyone.  And knowing (and seeing that) it is easier for us to say “see you later“.

I can’t begin to name all the things Lyle has done for the church and others, but there is one thing I want to share; something I have and will continue to miss.  In most churches acolytes take care of lighting the candles up front…if not the kids then the ushers.  Here at Salem we don’t have many kids but I never had to think about the candles, because Lyle took it upon himself to see they were lit.  If my acolytes didn’t show up and another student walked in, Lyle would see to it they lit the candles.  But who every lit them you had better light them in the right order (yes…there is a correct order to light and extinguish the candles).  Lyle was never mean about it, but he would educate on the correct way.  These past couple months Lyle hasn’t been able to be at worship and I  haven’t gotten used to checking on the candles.  I am not sure if I ever will.

Lyle will be missed by many.  And I will be forever grateful for how he took Connie and me under his wing.  Lyle became a grandpa to us and just like any grandpa I wish I had more time with him.  But more than anything, I am eternally grateful to God who send his son to die for us that we may live.  And because of that I will see Lyle again and I look forward to introducing him to you someday.

Praise be to God!

-edh-

4 thoughts on “Tribute to Lyle

  1. It’s never easy to let go of someone we love. I can only imagine that as a pastor, your load must be twice as heavy — not only must you minister to others as they cope with the loss of a friend, relative or mentor, but who ministers to you as you deal with your loss? There aren’t any words that any of us can say to relieve the pain that comes with losing a loved one, but please know that you have my deepest sympathies, and I will remember you in my prayers. May God bless you and send His comfort on you as you say goodbye to your friend Lyle.

  2. Lyle literallly lets his light shine, and helps others shine theirs, too. 🙂 Praying for you and your congregation in the midst of this loss…especially hard at this time of year.

  3. Thank you for sharing about Lyle. We too had a Lyle who is now departed from this life who made sure everyone knew the “right way” to light the candles. Your story reminded me of this saint of God in the life of our parish. My “Lyle” was “Henri” and missing him was excruciating because he was for me and for many a mentor. May you all feel God’s loving embrace in these trying times.

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