Sunday, June 10, 2012

Uncle Rich

I don't know where to begin. Didn't, still don't.

I first sat down to write this on May 8th, early Tuesday evening, a few hours after I found out that Uncle Rich had passed away the night before. I wrote, "I'm sad, I need to write, but this is not, wholly, my story. It isn't about me, despite the words in my blog's header description. Is it ever? Grant me the grace to write as I should."

It became a collection of other people's words, my cousins and sisters, words that seemed indescribably right, that touched me. I saw a couple other tributes later on that I'd like to add, but instead of taking the time to track them down again and ask permission I'm just going to post. It's been a month, three weeks since the funeral, and this feels long overdue now.

This is what I started with on facebook:


Goodbye, Uncle Rich, until we all meet again. You will be sorely missed by many, many people. To Karin, Kristi, Karise, Ken, Kevin, Kim, Keith, I'm so sorry. I loved him and I didn't even spend that much time with him, I can't imagine right now... I love you all and am praying for you."

My heart also goes out to his wife, his step-children, his sons- and daughter-in-law, his grandchildren, his ex-wife, and his many friends who knew him better than I did. And then to the countless other lives he touched.

He made each person feel special. He was the sort of person you were proud to know, proud to be known by, and it had nothing to do with his fame in certain circles. Or very little, anyway. That part was a cool bonus.

Others have expressed it well. Here are a few from facebook.

My cousin, Keith: "Beloved friends and family,

Rich is now face to face with Jesus. Last night (May 7th) at 10:30PM, in the hospital, our daddy completed his life’s course and enters now into the rest of our Lord.

We cannot thank you enough for the love, support, and prayer during this journey—God’s mercy has been tangible.

The funeral is planned for Saturday, May 19th at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Anaheim, CA, and will be open to anyone who wishes to attend. Final details will be posted here on CaringBridge in the next few days.

We are grieving in our souls but rejoicing in Christ!

-Keith E. Buhler"

My sister, Melanie: "Mourning the loss of my uncle Rich Buhler, a kind man, a wise man, a loving man, a servant of Christ. He touched so many hearts; he could find humor in anything; he gave fantastic hugs; his stories enlivened any room. We will miss him. Thousands of people will miss him. My cousins will miss him immensely. I am praying for you, dear cousins, and crying for you and with you."

My sister, Becky: "My wonderful uncle, Rich Buhler, passed away last night, 22 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He loved Jesus with all his heart and had a huge impact for the kingdom through his work in radio and his love for people. He played an important role in my life at some crucial moments. Ah, we will miss him!"

My cousin, Kim: "Dear friends,
For those who may not have already known, I lost my precious daddy to cancer Monday night.

I have remained at a loss for words this week while I have tried to understand, process, grieve, be. How am I supposed to put into words the announcement of this event? Each time I have attempted a FB post about it, the emotions take over, the words are gone, and I think “I’ll try again tomorrow”.

The last 6 days have been nothing but clinging to family, grieving, storytelling, remembering our final days with our daddy, and laughing in the midst of the tears. We are all so aware of how blessed we were to have close to 2 years with our dad (when we were supposed to have only months). There are many little miracles surrounding our final days with our daddy, enough that while I do not understand why this had to happen, I cannot deny the presence of God in it all.

We are all so grateful for the love, support, prayers, flowers, cards, phone calls, emails, texts, and food brought over to the house. What a testament to the impact my daddy had on the world around him. Stories about how my dad changed a life are pouring in from everyone between my dad’s closest friends to listeners that never even met him. This was my dad, and I can only hope to be a glimpse of this to people in my life.

Even though I was one of 7, my "daddy's little girl" heart loved, adored, and admired my dad as if I was his only. I often told him “Dad, because of you I know I am ok to be me”. I am like my dad in so many ways, and he will never know how much I looked up to him. Daddy, you have always been my hero. My heart is broken but I know you loved me and were proud of me and I will keep trying to make you proud.

Thank you to every single person who has reached out to me this week. Every message, text, comment, and voice mail has meant the world to me. I am blown away and so blessed to be surrounded by so much love during this time."
My cousin, Kristi, wrote this note and included with it a 2008 press release.

My cousin, Karise: "It is with great sadness and at the same time great peace that I let you know that my precious, amazing daddy went home to be with Jesus last night. He is now at peace and no longer suffering. Me and my family are together and grieving, yet at peace. I love you so much daddy, and already miss you so much. You have left your mark and legacy on this world, and I wish everyone could have known you and your great love."

My cousin, Kevin: "My beloved daddy is no longer battling cancer. He went to be with the Lord last night.

I love you deeply and will miss you every day, papa. The hole you leave in my heart cannot be measured. Rest peacefully in the arms of Jesus, papa."

My cousin, Ken: "Dear friends,

Last night I lost my closest friend and the most important person in my life. Last night I lost my father. He valiantly fought cancer for two years longer than he was given to live, and last night he passed.

He was the greatest man I have ever known. He taught me more about life, love, devotion, selflessness, and faithfulness than all others in my life combined.

Through my darkest period of life he gave of himself selflessly and sacrificially, and asked for nothing in return.

I’ve heard "I love you Kenny" thousands of times, and each time I felt loved. I’ve been given a thousand bear hugs, and each time I felt special. I’ve been told "If you weren't my son I’d wish you were" many times. Each time, I felt cherished.

I've never met a man who more exemplified Christ and what Christ teaches us to be. He loved God even more than he loved his kids, and he embodied and emulated God’s love to us more than words can describe.

Dad, I miss you desperately. If you weren’t my Dad, I’d wish you were.



Carol Anne Posey said...

So beautiful, Marcy. Thank you for this compilation.

Keith Buhler said...

I took a few months with this in my bookmarks, until I was ready.

Read it this morning with Lindsay through tears.

Thanks, cousin.

Marcy said...

You are very welcome. This felt so inadequate. I am grateful and humbled that it was meaningful to you.