You didn't give me a chance to say good bye. Well you didn't really give anyone a chance to say good bye. I know your passing wasn't planned and was more shocking to you than any of us. How do you go from doing laundry to seeing Jesus and not just be amazed.
There are so many things I want to say, but time and internet space probably won't allow it. I loved you like a brother . . .a much older brother . . . sorry, couldn't resist. You were my rock at the church. You worked with Bro. Joiner during the voting process which saw me coming to Perry. You paid for me and Billie to move to Perry and then gave the church some extra money to get us back up and running after the church practically closed. I can't explain it other than to say we had an instant connection. I felt like I had always known you and I know you felt the same.
You always had my back. In some of the toughest decisions I've had to make as a pastor and in life in general, you've been there. Whether you had words to encourage me or just the knowing that you were with me, I always felt stronger with you around. I tried to always have your back as well. There are things we talked about that I will take with me to my grave.
I hope you didn't mind me calling you out at your funeral yesterday. I mean seriously, 40 boxes of golf balls were under your TV the whole time??? And you couldn't lose one??? You were probably thinking you had to keep them because I lost them at a pretty large rate . . . We never got to go back to Thomaston to play golf. I know you loved that course. I'm sorry we never went back. We never got together to play at Waterford a week ago either like we were planning on doing. I'm going to miss those times together. I'm going to miss all of our times together.
Brooke let me keep the pink golf ball. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of that story. Don't worry . . . I won't use it. I'll put it up in my office. And I found out after spending the last several days at your house all day that you loved Zaxby's about as much as I did. I don't know how I missed you stealing . . . I mean borrowing all those napkins . . . 84 . . . really Carey? We had actually used some before we decided to count them. You had them from all kinds of Zaxby's and from all different periods of their existence. We made sure Brooke got them back after I used them in the funeral.
I won't lie. I'm not looking forward to Sunday. I'm not looking forward to a lot of things right now. I think I may have forgotten how to do church without you by my side. Singing won't be the same. Preaching won't be the same. Who is going to encourage me after each Sunday morning now? I miss you so bad man. I know you're looking down and you're having the time of your life. You're more alive now than you've ever been. I know that. Your family knows that, but it still hurts. I know time will ease the pain but you'll never be forgotten. Ever.
You'll be proud to know that several people have made donations to the church in your honor. I know exactly how we're going to use the money and I know you'd be proud. I know how bad you wanted to see our new sanctuary get built. I want you to know that I won't rest until it's done. If it doesn't happen, it won't be because I didn't do everything in my power to make it happen. I don't know who is going to be the clerk now. I've asked Trav to serve as the interim until I can get my head together to formulate a plan to go forward. We will keep going forward. I know that's what you would want. I'm going to keep being me. You always encouraged me to be me in whatever situation came up.
I want you to know that Brooke is amazing. She has done so good through all of this. As much as I and others are going to have to adjust, she will have to more than anyone. Carey, I'm going to watch after her from this day forward. We talked about her a lot when we were together and you wanted me to always keep my eye on her for you. I will do that and more. Whenever she needs me I'm going to be there through this time and any others that come up for her. I know she always made you proud and she always will. Don't worry about her. You know how great the family is and how they love her. We all love her more than anything as I know you did.
I just want to say thank you for everything you did for me and meant to me. You were one of my best friends for 3+ years of my life. I can honestly say I don't have many of those and I never have. But I'm so glad that God moved me to Perry to meet you and your daughter and the family. I'll never forget you and I can't wait to see you again. I know you'll be watching the church and I hope I make you proud. I hope the funeral made you smile. I hope you know how much I loved you and still do.
I'll see you soon Carey . . . . Go rest in the arms of Jesus.