After several years the J family moved away but our families still stayed close. While I was in college they returned back to Cross where I had the chance to get to know them even better When Derek and I got married it seemed appropriate to ask Mr. and Mrs. J help us with our wedding. I have always been impressed by Mr. J's music skills and Derek and I asked him to play the music for our wedding. He eagerly agreed and played some not so typical wedding songs. He didn't even hesitant to question us when one of the songs contained some lyrics in an African language! Mrs. J was so kind to help with decorating the wedding hall with us before our wedding. While Derek and I were off taking pictures Mr. and Mrs. J helped keep our guests occupied. I remember the look of joy on Mr. J's face as my parents walked me down the aisle. I always considered them to be a second set of parents as they have prayed for me, encouraged me, listened to me cry, and praise me through the highs and lows of my life.
When we received the news I have to admit I was in total shock. As crazy as it may seem I always feel like people I know and love just aren't supposed to die. Sure this is an unrealistic idea but one can wish that people they love don't die right? I struggled with trying to decide whether or not we should attend the funeral. All week I went back and forth on what we should do. Thursday morning Derek called and told me to book the car that we needed to go. Friday afternoon we began our 14 hour drive and got to my parents house @ 5 am. I am so thankful that we were able to make the funeral. I have never been to a more hopeful funeral than his. My tears ranged from those of sadness, joy, and comfort through the service. A large number of people singing praise to God for the life of a man who has touched so many brought me to tears several times. The service left me with a hope for the future and a smile in my heart knowing that Mr. J is up in heaven singing and playing in a great worship concert!
I am incredibly thankful to have known this family and for all the joy they have brought to me and my family!