Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
A Tribute
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Aug. 17, 2014 12:45 p.m.

This week has been a sad reminder to me, and many of the people I love, that todays don't last forever and tomorrows are most definitely not promised.  Death visited my extended family, and took someone very special away.
On Monday, I attended the funeral of a very sweet, loyal, one-of-a-kind type of guy.  Tom's Uncle Ronnie (Kibble) was always cheerful, loved his family more than anything on Earth, and enjoyed being  with his sweet wife at home so much, he hardly ever left.  I cannot tell you how many times, over the past thirty years, I've seen him stand up, put his arm around Aunt Bertie, and say "I hear Sandyville calling. Then, he left with a smile on his face.
Uncle Ronnie had a very deep voice, a twinkle in his eye, and a deeply faithful and gentle soul. He was the kind of man that still shook hands when he spoke to other men, and pulled out chairs and opened doors for the ladies.  He treasured people, loved going to church, and we will all miss talking to him, and seeing his ornery, quiet grin.
As I watched his family say good-bye, as bravely as they could, on Monday, I felt their pain and re-lived my own, as I remembered saying good-bye to my own dad fourteen years ago.  Funerals are like that... They are for me, anyway. They make me remember all the people I've lost over the years, all the grief that has come my way,  and all the pain I thought I would never be able to endure, but, somehow, did.
Funerals are also reminders that life is absolutely precious.  It should be treasured, and we should do our best every day, to make our days on Earth count.  I try to remind myself, when I have a bad day: when I get grouchy, or depressed, or feel overwhelmed, that at least I woke up this morning.  And, that's a gift, not a promise.
Uncle Ronnie knew that.  You could tell by the way he lived his life. And, you could tell by the way he was loved. He made the most of his days and showed people the love he had for them while he was here. Now, he is, most assuredly, in a peaceful and beautiful place, and I'm sure he'll send his family the strength they need to survive the grief of losing him.
Grief often brings the feeling that life is over, and the future is bleak. I remember feeling, after I lost my own dad, that I couldn't even look ahead to the future with any hope or promise, knowing he wouldn't be there. But, slowly, over time, I learned to put one foot in front of the other, and face the next day, then, the next, then, the next...
The fact is, no matter how hard things get at times, and no matter how much we feel we can't go on some days, life will go on.  It has to.  It does.  It always will.
All we can do is make the most of it while we're here, just like Uncle Ronnie did.

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