This was posted shortly after a very dear friend passed away.
One of the dearest friends I could ever hope to have has gone on to be with Jesus. When I was alone and friendless in Oneida, Bob Palfreyman and his family took me in and treated me as one of their own. For the year that I lived in Oneida, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t spend time with him or his family. He was a lover of life and of his Savior. He and his wife, Millie, cared for everyone and I could see that love in their eyes at all times. Bob always had a moment to share, to listen, and to pray with me. He talked me through losses in my own family, through the end of a relationship, and stood by me through a time when a terrible rumor could have destroyed us all. His family follows in his footsteps: his son, John, always has a smile and a hug for me; his daughter-in-law, Kim, will always have a laugh and the best stories to tell; and his grandsons, JC and Robert, who still call me Aunt Jen, still light up when they see me and make me feel as if I truly could be a much-loved aunt.
Why does this touch me so? Because I left them in Oneida. I never forgot them, but somehow didn’t always find the time to let them know how often I thought of them. Don’t we always think we have forever to tell someone how much we love them? Because of this misguided belief, I missed that last chance to tell Bob just how much he touched my life. How his insistence to help the Children’s Center encourages me to love those less fortunate. How his work with CASA reminds me to take action when the power is within my grasp. How his continued study, even in his sixties, reminds me that we can never have enough knowledge and that there is always more about life to be learned. I know he’s in paradise now. I know he has no more pain or suffering. I know deep down that to wish for one more chance to say “I love you” is the most selfish, misguided desire of my heart.
I have a second chance with his family, though. With open arms they welcomed me back into the fold. What Christlike love Bob taught his family! What an amazing legacy he has left behind! My tribute to Bob will be to love others as Christ loves me. To forgive others as Christ has forgiven me. And to never again let this family believe that I have forgotten them.