Death is never goodbye

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2012

Even though warned by the doctor, we were not prepared to say good-bye to my father-in-law, Charles Michel Sr. I could do little but prayerfully support my husband as he dealt with the details and the emotions following the death of his dad.

In the 87 years between his birth and death, Mr. Michel survived the death of his Mom when he was very young, entered the Navy at 17 attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer at 19, fought World War II battles in the Pacific, Guam, Saipan, Okinawa and Guadalcanal, enjoyed 65 years of marriage and family, and most importantly to me, raised my husband, Michael.

Michael eloquently summed up his father’s life in the heartfelt eulogy he delivered at the funeral. He has given me permission to include a portion of his speech.

“Being a child of the Depression, my father never threw away anything he deemed as valuable. That fact can be confirmed if you look in the kitchen drawer near the refrigerator or in his garage at home. There were several times when he generously gave those things to my children. I vividly remember him returning from a rabbit hunting trip behind the levee with a combination lock he was particularly proud of. It was a nice lock, in great condition I must admit, but there was just one small problem: there was no combination. My children brought it home and spun that dial for weeks with no success. I’m sure I still have that lock in my crowded garage or kitchen drawer. At it turns out, my father did have the combination. No, not for that lock, but for life. Faith in God, love of family and the desire to work hard to succeed.

“If you are ever in my kitchen, you’ll find a chalkboard. Depending upon the mood of the writer, you will find quotes, jokes, or scriptures. Yesterday, my wife had written 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I am here today to tell you Dad’s eyes have seen, his ears have heard and his heart knows what God has prepared just for him. His journey here is over, and he has a new home, but his story is not over. The rest of it is to be lived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As a man of faith, I choose to believe today is not goodbye, but merely a brief interlude. So Dad, just be patient, and we’ll see you in a little while.”

Ronny may be reached at