Yesterday, one of my most treasured members of my church family was laid to rest. When I learned of his death on an afternoon in December, I was devastated, mainly because I missed out on the opportunity to visit him when he was sick. The fault was no one’s but mine. I should have made the time to visit him and speak to him when I had the chance, but now I won’t have that chance again – not until Jesus returns that is.
Uncle Clifford was a very special individual. He was one of the people I would always make an effort to seek out and say hello when I came to church on Sabbath. If he didn’t see me, I know that he would ask my mum, “How are my daughters?” inquiring about both me and my sister. He was someone who would always remember you and genuinely cared about how you were.
Seeing Uncle Clifford never failed to put a smile on my face. I always looked forward to seeing him, greeted by his grin, warming presence and always a “Hello darling” in his distinct Jamaican tongue. There was also always a hug and kiss on the cheek waiting for me. Knowing that I’m not going to hear that treasured greeting again or see his smiling face on Sabbath brings great sadness to my heart, as I know that church will never feel the same again. Having to see someone else sitting in his spot next to Uncle Jim will be a strange sight for me.
I also enjoyed seeing Uncle Clifford sitting with Uncle Jim at the church’s soup kitchen on Tuesday evenings. Having the opportunity to see him there in the week made coming to the soup kitchen even better, as I was treated to his trademark greeting and some conversation.
His strength continued through and through, not complaining about any pain or illness he was in, which is a quality I truly admire. He was always caring and considerate, offering me and my mum lifts home on a number of occasions. Uncle Clifford would always want to ensure you were safe, well and happy, doing what he could to make it happen.
The moment I heard of his passing, I knew that I was going to miss him, but at his funeral yesterday, it hit me just how much I was going to miss his presence in my life. Uncle Clifford was a simple, constant figure who brought joy to my days, but I don’t think he realised the impact he had on my life by just being who he was. I’m glad he’s at peace now and I’m looking forward to seeing him again on that day when Jesus comes. I love you always Uncle Clifford.