Fifty-one years ago today, a beautiful baby boy graced this planet. With a full head of dark hair and a sweet round face, he joined a unit of three and made it a family of four (which would later become five).
For 29 years his smile charmed anyone he met and his huge heart always found a way to help anyone in need. He was good with his hands and in combination with his mechanical mind, he could build or fix anything put in front of him.
Nearly thirty-one years ago Gregg became my brother-in-law, and for one decade I had the privilege of being his slightly older “sister”.
He was great with our girls and was often the “patient”, “student” or “dad”, or whatever character fit that day’s pretending.
They loved their Uncle Gregg.
Twenty-two years ago he was diagnosed with AIDS.
After 10 grueling months of fighting this relentless monster disease, his body was so, so weary. I remember sitting next to him on his bed. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my son, and Gregg’s life was quickly coming to a close.
It occurred to me that I was right between two lives – one ending and one just beginning.
Gregg, ever the sentimental soul, reached over, by this time unable to talk, and rubbed my enormous belly. A single tear rolled down his cheek. We both knew he would never meet his nephew.
But in that moment, he said something with his teary eyes that needed no words.
He was passing on the baton of the Jarvis name to the soon-to-be youngest male of the family. His hand on my unborn son’s form was his unspoken blessing.
I will never forget it.
Little did you or I know, Gregg, that there would be a little one, a couple of years down the road, ANOTHER nephew, that you WOULD meet. I’m certain, that YOU were one of the first ones to greet him and show him the ropes of eternity.
I hope that you two are celebrating your special day together today, joined by millions upon millions of others who sing Happy Birthday. Led by the Giver of Life, Himself.
Your life on this earth was too short, dear brother. But your life in eternity has only just begun, every day a new birth – day.
And for that reason, today’s tears are more happy than sad…
Birthday hugs and kisses and lots and lots of love,