Impressions of Bill's Life and Passing1

June 26, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

On May 19th I received word that my brother Bill had been diagnosed with Leukemia. He had been incarcerated for 22 months and still had 2-3 years yet to serve. I had been his connection to the outside world and to family, and we had spent hours in visitation, phone conversations, and had exchanged about 30 letters. Obviously, Bill had made some bad choices, but he was a believer in Jesus Christ and had made steps to get back on track. He passed away on June 11 after a very short battle with Leukemia, but I am confident that he is now enjoying full life and health in the presence of Lord. He loved to read, so over the course of time I had sent him several books that I enjoyed and thought he might like. Some were Christian living, some Christian fiction. He especially enjoyed Crazy Love by Francis Chan. He called me one day to talk about how much that book meant to him and how it had opened his eye to God's love for him. My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen was a book we both started to read about the same time. I chose the word "contend" to be my word this year. My goal has been to contend for my faith, my personal goals, and for my family. And it has been a true joy to contend for Bill, for his life, and his faith during his incarceration. Bill chose the word "promise." He often mentioned verses of promise that he held onto as reminders of God's presence with him and provision for his needs. Interestingly, on the day he passed (but before I got the call), I saw a double rainbow. Roger and I were on the way to Beef and Boards dinner theater with my sister Eva and her husband John. I saw the rainbows over Indianapolis as we headed north on I-465 and wondered if maybe Bill had passed. (We had seen him at the hospital the day before when he had decided to quit treatments and transition to hospice back at the prison. I had lined up visitors for the next day knowing he may only have a few days left.) I debated taking my phone into the theater once we arrived as I was eager to unplug and de-stress from the emotion of it all, but I decided I had better take it in just in case since I was the only point of contact. We were seated, then went through the buffet line. I noticed I had a missed call at 7:09. I didn't mention it to the others but kept a watch on my phone. We ate dinner and took a picture of the 4 of us which I posted to Facebook. That picture was taken at 7:51pm. The call came in again at 7:54 just minutes before curtain. Bill had passed at 6:42pm. I made some calls to family as the show started. Afterwards, the four of us closed the place down talking in the parking lot until late. It was good to be with family at that time, and it was good to be out for some diversion. The next day and the following days were spent notifying the rest of the family and working on arrangements. It was several days later when I saw another double rainbow that the connection between the biblical symbol of the rainbow and Bill's one word "promise" finally hit me. I doubt I'll ever forget it now. 

 

 


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