Location: Omaha, Nebraska, United States

Julie calls me "Sweetie". Finley calles me a variation of "Daddy". One of my friends calls me "Boo-Boo". Another friend used to call me "Mole".

Saturday, May 27, 2006

We Call Him Edward

We call him Edward. He comes into the restaurant where I work almost everyday with a bag in his hand. In his bag is usually a steak that he gives to our chef to cook. He will walk right into the kitchen and hand our chef the steak. Everyone in our restaurant adores Mr. Edward. He is the most unassuming, gently heroic man that most of we young people have ever known or likely ever will know. Over the last few months I have begun to know who this man is. Years ago when I worked here he would come in with his wife who at the time was barely holding on to her life. I didn't really know him then. I was more of an observer. He would wheel her to their table in her wheel chair and they would share a meal together. They were one of those couples that soaked each other up. They were it for one another. So when I returned to Joseph-Beth three years later I was sad to see that Mr. Edward was coming alone to lunch. While I was away his beloved wife had passed away. When I asked my friends at work about Ed's wife's passing they said that they felt like one of their family members had died. Upon my reintroduction to Ed I sensed a depth and purity of spirit that I have only witnessed in a few other people. So now when he comes in I make a point to sit with him and glean whatever I can from this eighty-one year old man. I have learned that he is a retired Professor of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky so he is really Dr. Ed. He is the father of four children. He lost his oldest child who now rests in the same cemetery as his wife does. I have witnessed parents mourn the death of their child. It is an unbearable grief. I have known men who have lost their one true love after sixty years of marriage. These men have died of a broken heart. Ed is definitely carrying around a broken heart but it has not killed him yet. He has transformed a large portion of his grief into compassion. Five days a week he either visits hospice and tries to comfort people who are dying or he visits Alzheimer patients and as he says "just holds their hands". Among all this he finds time to volunteer in the bookstore where I work reading books to little children. Recently he was named a Living Legend among ten other people in Lexington who live extraordinary lives. The man is an elderly saint full of miracles. He is a tall, pale, thin angel. He is an eighty-year old picture of Jesus. I am privileged to learn from him about what it means to be human and alive.


Post a Comment

<< Home