Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Psalm 116:15 (Goodbye Uncle)

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."

We lost a great man today: Dr. Levi J. Jackson III, the son of the man who's middle name I share, the brother to 7 beautiful strong women of God (an 8th is already in heaven), the father to my cousin Desmond and the uncle to myself, my sister and my cousins.

He was a man who valued education (a retired teacher as of this year). He was a caring man who looked out for all of us. He carried himself with dignity and always had a presence whenever he came into a room. Most importantly, he was a man who loved life and despite his recent health conditions, it didn't slow that passion down.

After my Dad passed in 2003, my uncle helped to fill that void along with my uncle Greg. He was the first family member who came down after I graduated from college in 2006 and we went to dinner that Friday night before the ceremony. He was there in the gym during the ceremony and with his ever-present video camera he captured a lot of moments in my life.

I remember when we went to Disneyland when I was younger and it was him who took the videos of us. One of the last memories I will have of him is when he and his son came to visit us last year. He always took his customary spot in the living room with the TV and always was good to talk to about anything.

It's sad also that he died at around the same age as my Dad. Yes, it's selfish to think of myself right now but I'm concerned because I know they both had health issues (Dad was a smoker) and it's even more motivation for me to watch my health this year. I've begun to lose weight but I know I can do more to watch my diet. Both of them died relatively young...but they both lived full lives as well.

My pastor said something interesting though: My uncle lived a life that is worth mourning. I heard at his retirement that many people from his life came out...fraternity brothers (a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha), family, students and colleagues. That's a life worth mourning and a life worth celebrating.

But right now, my family is in deep shock. We didn't expect this to happen and to hear the sadness in their voices was NOT easy to take. We assumed that him not having surgery yesterday was a positive sign. But all I could think of was the late sportscaster Jim McKay's words when the Israeli hostage tragedy ended at the Munich Olympics: "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. Our worst fears have been realized today."

We came together at that retirement dinner (an event I missed b/c of work) and now we will come together to say goodbye and send him home. Send up your prayers because he's now resting comfortably in heaven and our family will miss him dearly. We praise God for his life and praise God for his mercy that he is no longer in pain and praise God for the healing and the testimonies He'll bring through this

God bless you Uncle Levi. Enjoy watching the rest of us carry on your legacy with Dad, Paw Paw and Maw Maw next to you among others. Our great cloud of witnesses added one more from our ranks.

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