If I Don't See You again, I Love You!

Posted by Michael La Framboise on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 Under: Meditations

In 1997, a grandfather visited his daughter and grandchildren in Wisconsin. Before returning home to southern California, he exchanged goodbyes with his eldest grandson, Jeremy, who was 21 at the time. Neither one knew when they might see each other again. As hugs were shared, Jeremy said, “Goodbye, and if I don’t see you again, I love you.” A few days later his grandpa passed away suddenly, just a few hours after reaching home. Unexpectedly, Jeremy and his family were soon on their way to California for a funeral. I stood next to Jeremy and bawled my eyes out on his shoulder while we strained to sing Amazing Grace. Grandma had asked all of her grandchildren to sing together at his funeral, but I think Jeremy was the only one who was able to finish the song while the rest of us just sobbed through it.

In 2023, Jeremy was living in southeastern Kansas. The week after Easter I was taking a trip to Kansas City, about three hours away from where he lived, so Jeremy and I planned to get together. It would be the first time we had seen each other since his sister’s funeral a few years earlier. When my plane landed, he was texting me about which hotel to meet at, but by the time I got to my rental car, he was texting that he was feeling ill and experiencing flu-like symptoms. We never met that week and I never saw him again. He suddenly passed away from an aneurism in June. “Goodbye, and if I don’t see you again, I love you.”

Jeremy and I grew up together, played together, worked together, and laughed ourselves silly till we could hardly breathe. We did not always agree on things, especially politics, but we sure had some good times arguing together. And, boy, could he talk. I was barely able to get a word in edgewise with him. We loved watching movies together, especially Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Pirates of the Caribbean, and anything with Jim Carrey. We had so many fun times together, I will have no end of funny stories to tell when I am an old man in a rocking chair. “Goodbye, and if I don’t see you again, I love you.”

Due to a sad turn of events in his own life, we sadly (and unintentionally) drifted apart during 2021. I knew he needed me, but I did not know how to take the first step to reach out to him. I expected - foolishly - that there would always be another day for that. He sent this message for me on Facebook one day in March that year: “Tell my little cousin, Michael, that I love him with all my heart. No matter how little we talk, he’s always my homie forever.”

No matter how persistent death is, we seem to always make the mistake of presuming upon tomorrow. We just assume those dearest to us will be around whenever we wish to speak to them or see them. We so often take for granted the short time we are given. Then, one day, they are gone. We cannot call them anymore. We cannot see them again. We could have the day before, but now, we no longer have the chances we have wasted. I wish I had travelled to his house while I was close enough to do it. I wish I had called him when he was there to answer the phone. I wish I could hear him again, laugh with him again. “Goodbye, and if I don’t see you again, I love you.”

I thank God for the Gospel of Jesus Christ which promises us life from death, and I am reminded of the blessed power of the cross whenever I go to church. Every Sunday morning when I join in the singing of hymns, I think of the dear ones in glory who sang them before me. I imagine them joining me from heaven. Grandpa Jerry and Jeremy raise their voices while Grandma Wanda and Aunt Janet play celestial pianos. My great grandmother“Gummie,” with her arms tightly around our Sarah, gather ‘round with so many others, singing together with me. Oh, what a great and awesome cloud of witnesses which surrounds us in the House of the Lord! When I sing an old gospel song, I never sing alone, and I never will. “Goodbye, and until I see you again, I love you.”

In : Meditations 

Tags: jeremy munson  gospel  christ  cousins  fun  hymns  heaven 
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