Funeral - With Birthday Cake

 CHRISTY HOWARD

CHRISTY HOWARD

Life lessons come along whether you are looking for them or not. I had one on my last birthday. Yes my cousin did present me with a special birthday cake at the house a few hours after her husband’s funeral. I was attempting to “overlook” my birthday, but they didn’t. They are that kind of family. And that is the point, really. 

Jim was one of the most powerful men I have ever met. At over 350 muscled lbs. this beloved offensive line coach in a Texas high school had, with his wonderful family, built a life of community. From school and coaching to church and just about everyone they met, Jim and Priscilla, my cousin, built bonds. — The kind of family that routinely takes others in and includes them in their lives. And that community responded not out of pity for Jim’s valiant battle with Pancreatic Cancer, but because they honestly loved him and his family, and considered them their own. 

As I listened to the friends who spoke at the funeral (a coach, a cousin/BFF, and a prior high school player turned pro athlete), the theme became clear.  Jim always had a game plan for the team (the sports team or the family…whatever). Even for fighting the last battle of his life. His mantra was that known to offensive coaches: Keep your feet moving. In other words, he lived with purpose for himself and his team and kept going, building and including others.

Jim and the family he fiercely loved have become part of the community they relocated to 11 years earlier. Like fabric. He is still a part of it even after his way-too-early passing. I witnessed it. And his family, led by his wife, is still building community. Who else thinks to give someone a birthday cake hours after a funeral? — With a smile and a hug. Really. Who does that? The answer: A family that lives community and one who will keep their feet moving, just as Jim would have wanted.

Jim, you built a fantastic life. Way too short, but I vow to #tellyourstory because it has been one of the honors of my life to know you and to have witnessed what you and your family built. And I am writing your mantra and this part of your story on page 57 of my filled out Read This...® When I'm Dead guided journal. #ScottStrong