Before Gates’ accident you sat in our home, with Gates, talking of his swimming accomplishments and encouraging him to give more detail; Gates, nonchalant, relayed the basics where you interjected saying, “Come on, Gates, it was a bigger deal than that.” That afternoon, the demonstration of love you have for Gates brought joy to my spouse and me as you finished the story; Gates shrugging and rolling his eyes all the while.
I distinctly remember the testimony you shared from the pulpit, approximately one year ago, about overhearing Gates talk, with his friends, about his plans for a mission. I can still hear your words expressing your happiness with his decision to serve the Lord.
These stories shared, it’s been the last 100+ days, where I’ve learned the most.
The initial moments, of my unannounced visits to the hospital, are some of the most cherished seconds I’ve had with you. One experience, specifically, where you sat on Gates’ hospital bed, no spoken word, no television noise interrupted the peaceful ambiance you shared with your son. It was me who broke that solemn silence, announcing my presence at the doorway. I’ve reflected on this moment numerous times, and the sweet spirit there that afternoon, when I've needed the serenity and perspective.
Each post I write has a vested emotional piece to it, however some time has passed since, while glaring at the monitor, typing feverishly... I’ve cried. Today, I am overwhelmed with feelings brought on by how humbled I am to know you, your character, your service, your dedication and most of all your love.
You have imparted of your gratitude to all of us, and so we return the favor as we make known our indebtedness to you for your example of charity, attitude, perseverance, strength, effort, faith, dedication, patience and more and more and more.
A big bear hug, for the Big Bear himself!
Sincerely and with much love,