A great man

My friend, Aubrey's, father, Bob VanDrimmelen, passed away suddenly on Saturday afternoon. We just got back from his funeral service today. I love the fact that in our church a funeral is always a celebration of life and an "I'll see you soon" and not really a goodbye.

Aubrey and I have been friends for a long time. Her husband, Jon, was our home teacher for at least a year. The first time he came over Cara, who was still pretty young, decided to hit him in the head with an empty 2-liter bottle. Nice, I know. Can you believe he kept coming every month? Jon & Bryan worked together for a year in an accounting office here in Arlington. Our kids love and play with each other very easily. When I needed a babysitter quick I could always call Aubrey. When we wanted to get out of the house, they were always up for a game night. They moved to Ft. Worth two years ago and we don't see them nearly often enough but one easy way we kept in touch was through her parents.

Bob was the stake Sunday School President. Jody is the stake Relief Society President. When our stake got all crazily realigned in April, we were lucky enough to end up in their ward. The Vans had us over for dinner just last month. Sister Van is someone who can make the impossible look easy. She's a fabulous public speaker. She is service-driven and always has a smile, hug and a "How are you, sweetie?" for me. In a ward that we knew practically no one in, that was exactly what I needed.

Brother Van was a master teacher. He had a knack for making you look at things in a completely different way than you'd have ever thought of. One time (before the realignment) he was teaching Gospel Doctrine (for his calling) in our ward. I'd read the assigned chapters ahead of time and was all prepared for what I thought the lesson would be... He turned it all around and asked how the temple related to the chapters. It was an "a-ha" moment for me.

By the number of people and cars at the church today you'd have thought it was Stake Conference. It was obvious to anyone there that Brother Van has touched many lives for good. I'm thankful that I got the chance to know and love him.

When things like this happen close to home it is always a good time for reflection and self-analysis. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my own parent's mortality as well as the things I can work on in my life to be more like Christ. Life is a blessing indeed.


b - bo said...

I completely agree I am very thankful to have known Bro Van. and to be friends with his family great people. We have been very blessed by the friendships we have made in our life lately. What blessing.

I love the way you write it's real Perty.

Erin said...

Hil- I was so sad to hear about brother Van on Saturday when my mom called. I read the obituary that you emailed me today and just cried. It's at times like this that I remember how thankful I am for the gospel im my life and what a comfort it can be at difficult times. I wish I could have been there today at the funeral. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Love ya!

randivon said...

Hey Hilary-
Aub is on the road and won't get to comment until tomorrow but I wanted to tell you thank you for your kind words. Thank you for loving my parents and letting them love you. Bro Van will be missed but his influence will live on in so many!

Heather said...

I don't think anyone could say it better. He is truly a great man. I had an opportunity to visit with him at a singles event. The advice he gave me that night has always stayed with me. Our prayers will be with the family.

Tobi said...

Great tribute. I'm sorry that such a great man had to end his time on earth so abruptly.

Aubrey said...

Okay, my friend, what's with making me cry? I'm trying not to do that anymore. Thank you for such a sweet tribute to my Dad. I miss him a lot, but I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I have in my life. You know, the ones who you call and ask if they'll watch their kids for 4 days, even though they're going to Utah and watching another kid too? Thank you for all you do for us. We are truly grateful that we can call you guys friends. (And it was cool to wave to you as we crossed paths on our Utah journeys this morning. Hopefully, you are feeling better?!?)