We said our final goodbyes to Arnt a year ago today. He left behind a community of people who have been saddened with his departure. I belong to that community along with Mary and Meg and all of his other family and friends. I feel like a newer member of this group, but a member just the same. During the memorial service held in Valparaiso, I felt a definite sense of loss, not just of this relatively new family member (Meg and I had only married 2 months earlier) but a future friend. Arnt and I got along during the small amount of times we spent together and I believe we were beginning to understand each other better and better. I began to see past what most would describe as his prickly outer layer, and see what so many people described during the memorial. A loving and dedicated man. I wanted to recap some of the stories I had heard during the memorial (that increased my feeling of lost future experiences with Arnt,) but I realized that I certainly wouldn’t do them justice, but I can fill in a detail that few people know about Arnt.
Many of you have heard the story that Meg tells about my first meeting with Arnt. Later that night in the basement, while Arnt was showing me his impressive train layout, in addition to the trains, we discussed three main things,
- My overuse of the word “sure”
- My ability to provide for Meg and myself, and
- The fact that if Meg was in love with me and wanted to marry me, that was enough for him. He wanted her to be happy and taken care of. That was the theme for most of the conversations the rest of the time I spent with the family that holiday. Once I convinced Arnt that I would most certainly love and “take care” of Meg, we got along pretty darn well.
The world has been a different place for a lot of us, the past year. I often find myself thinking, “it’s too bad Arnt couldn’t have seen that,” or “Arnt and I could have worked on something like that together” We miss you Arnt.
I titled this post for a reason, since I feel like Arnt left this world just a little too soon.
While I was thinking about what to say in the post, I was reminded of people in my family who also left too soon. When I was 8 years old (thirty years ago,) my grandfather Leland died. It was my first real experience with death. Looking back it was a very surreal moment for our family, my grandfather died in his sleep overnight, and my cousin Mark (who had been fighting a number of ailments for many years) died later that day at age 15. I think back of all the things I knew of both of them and I’m saddened that I didn’t know either of them well. I believe that I would have gotten along well with both of them as I grew up and matured into the person I am today. I do know that both of them did influence my life, and we miss them greatly too. Above you can see my Grandfather with his wife and mother, and my parents and my brother. Below you can see a video of Mark with my brother and I.