A horrible tragedy happened this past weekend, but there is beauty within the storm.
Horrible because my father in law was killed in a absolutely freak accident Saturday morning. Beautiful because he immediately soared on eagles wing’s to a beautiful place that has no sorrow and no pain. Chuck is in the presence of his beloved Jesus.
Chuck died when a vehicle ran off the road and struck him as he was standing in his yard. Literally, at the blink of an eye, his was gone. There’s no need for me to share all the ugly details. This writing is about the celebration of his life, not the ugliness that surrounds that whole chain of events.
His legacy lives on.
And that’s what I want to share. Chuck came into my life in 1997 when I started dating his soon to be step-son, Joseph. I remember Chuck being the life of the party, happy go lucky guy. He wasn’t my favorite person. I thought he was loud and obnoxious. 🙄
Fast forward to 2003, Chuck and Donna were married by then. Chase and Hunter were toddlers. Chuck had a massive stroke. He was left paralyzed on one side and spent months in a rehab center.
Let someone go through a life changing event like that, and you’ll see all the feel good friends flee like cockroaches. He was no longer the life of the party. Chuck was a shell of the man he once was. All he had was a few friends and his family.
That’s when I fell in love with Chuck. I started going and taking him to lunch and making a point to visit with the boys more often. Chuck became someone dear to me. He became my friend. Over the next few years, Chuck really went through some hard times as he struggled to find his new purpose .
God came and did some miraculous things in Chuck’s life. He healed his soul and there was no doubt that his name was written in the Lamb’s Book. Everything in Chuck’s demeanor showed it. Chuck learned to walk again. I remember absolutely being shocked the day he got his driver’s license. I never imagined that would be reality. Chuck only had one working arm/hand. He didn’t let that stop him. I’ve seen this man use his teeth while using equipment. He brought new meaning to “Where there is a will, there is a way”! His yard remains one of the best cared for and has won recognition.
When the boys lost their dad in 2009, I was at one of the lowest points of my life. We were in the midst of preparing to make a move. To say I had a mess on my hands would be a serious understatement. Who brought his tractor over and spent countless hours making sure that the boys and I had a new place to call home? This one armed wonder gave me the prettiest grass in all the forest!( I live on many acres with no neighbors!)
As the years passed Hunter and Chuck formed a special bond. He became Chuck’s armpiece on many, many projects. I’ve never seen 2 people that could work in synch with no spoken words like they did. Chuck was also driving force behind Hunter’s own relationship with the Lord. Many camping trips were spent with Hunter crawling up in the bed with his PawPaw at night sharing the Bible with him.
While we had our own Church, Hunter and Chuck would go to revivals and to what was a Cowboy church that was held on a non-traditional weekday. Hunter would beg to go.
Chuck would go and cut wood with a chainsaw(one armed wonder, again!) for any family he knew that needed to stay warm during a cold winter. Seems like he was always helping someone and sharing the gospel!
One memory that will forever be etched in my mind is how Hunter ended up with PawPaw’s personal Bible several years ago. I’m not sure if he asked for it or if Chuck saw Hunter’s interest and wanted his grandson to have it. This Bible is full of highlighted scripture and writings from Chuck. Hunter still uses and treasures it to this day. He’s carried it around with him since this latest ordeal began.
Two years ago, Chuck was diagnosed with leukemia. It only slowed him down a tiny bit. During all these trials, the Lord was faithful to Chuck and Chuck to Him.
Chuck has other grandchildren who all have other precious memories of Paw Paw. I’m so thankful Hunter and his 7 year old cousin Kayleigh just returned from spending 2 weeks camping with them. I pray that all the cousins will share his legacy with 2 year old Lilly as she grows.
So yes, it was a horrible tragedy. But there’s a beautiful peace in knowing that Chuck lived and breathed for his Savior. And now he is reaping the benefits.
Rest In Peace my friend. You were an inspiration to this old girl you still claimed as your daughter in law, all these years later.