Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

John, Curt, Patti, Jeff

This is one of my favorite pictures of my friends, Curt and Patti. Curt went home to be with the Lord on December 4, after suffering through a brain tumor and treatment. He was a great man and a  pastor at our Maui Church. The following words are from a comment I wrote on his family's blog. We will miss you, Curt. All our love to Patti and the family.  

Fifteen years of sharing a men's group with Joe, week after week, year after year, Joe said Curt was a true friend and a support through thick and thin--one of the dearest friends of his life. One of my (Karen's) most cherished memories is of our son's Baldwin High graduation. Joey wore Maui casual: slippers and shorts under his gown, thinking he could outsmart the dress code of slacks, shoes, shirt and tie. Not a chance. They pulled him out of the line up and said, "NO slacks, no diploma". We were too far from Kihei to make it back in time. The traffic outside the stadium was snarled in a standstill. Nonetheless and without a moment's hesitation, Curt came to the rescue. Despite the fact that his own daughter was also graduating, he blasted out of the stadium, drove home, grabbed the necessary garb from his own closet and got it back to Baldwin High in the nick of time for our son to walk the processional with his classmates. I cannot see those graduation photos without seeing Curt, the man who made it possible.

Curt was a man of character, unselfishness, wisdom, strength, calm and determination. He seemed to intuitively know how to solve just about any problem--he'd seen it all. He was kind, friendly, and the best Sunday morning emcee I've ever seen. He knew how to take the cringe out an awkward moment and make everyone relax.

The last time I saw Curt, he was at the beginning of his cancer, in the hospital, post-surgery. Our trip to Maui coincided, and I was so glad we were able to see him. As we surrounded him in a circle of prayer and support, I saw one tear trickle down his cheek. That is my final and most poignant memory of him. I think he knew it was the beginning of the end of his life's journey, and though he was courageous, I think it was the realization that this was going to be his goodbye to all of us. We were so optimistic, and I only realize this now in hindsight. I am so glad I had that moment with that beautiful man. We will miss our dear friend, and know that Heaven is better for having him there--though we are poorer without him. Thank you, Curt, for being an amazing, good and faithful servant, and our friend.


karen gerstenberger said...

I'm now tearfully thinking of Curt meeting Joey (and maybe Katie?) in heaven...what a blessed reunion for them! But oh,, how my heart hurts for you and your family, and for his family and congregation. May God's tender love touch each hurting heart with fulness of comfort and gifts of good memories. Oh, cancer sucks.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing tribute to the man you guys loved. I remember he was always smiling, always. We were also in Maui when we heard of his cancer, same kind of brain tumor that Angie had and we knew he was in for a fight of his life here. You always know what to say and it touches my heart. Heaven just keeps growing bigger and bigger with those I know and love. Wow, what a welcome it is going to be, first Jesus and then Angie! xoxo Sharon