Monday, June 05, 2017

Rick Marx

At 9:30 this morning Rick Marx passed away. It is sad to see a good friend leave this world but what a comfort it is to know that it is only for a short time. Well, I guess it doesn’t seem that short but that is what makes it so difficult. Lisa and I went to see him and Kathy on Saturday and then again yesterday. I’m really glad we did.

Kathy texted Lisa right away and told her that they would be doing a "Salute" for Rick at 11:30. We had no idea what that was but we both wanted to participate and support Kathy so we left work and headed right over. 

The salute was pretty special. They had us all leave Ricks room and they put him on a stretcher, draped him in the American flag and then a fellow from the Veterans Association stood in the hall and rang a small bell. Two orderlies slowly wheeled him into the hallway while the VA guy loudly announced Ricks name and rank and his branch of service and other stuff. It was very solemn and almost spiritual. 

What made it even more special is that Rick volunteered with the VA and this fellow remembered working with him. He even told Kathy that Rick kept a picture of her on his desk and that he obviously loved her. 

Lisa and I first met Rick roughly ten years ago. We went out for dinner on a double date and I’ve loved Rick ever since that first day so long ago. It is hard for me to judge time but it must have been three or four years ago that Rick went to see his doctor about a pain in his hips. He thought he must have pulled a muscle or something like that. He’d always been a very healthy man and worked out regularly. Imagine our surprise when we learned he had stage four cancer in his bones and he was given less than a year to live. Rick received many blessings and some of his blessings told him that it was not his time yet and he still had work to do here on earth. 

Rick has used that time well and helped a LOT of people in that time. Perhaps most importantly he helped his son Doug go through some very tough times. After giving his son some much needed support it was appropriate to see Doug by his dads bedside during his last days on this earth. 

Rick had many ups and downs since that first diagnosis. He went through a few rounds of chemotherapy and at one point he was on deaths door. He pulled through and recovered to the point that he was cancer free. I remember one day in the chapel just before church started I was playing “Clash of Clans” with my kids. They had created a clan in this game that is played on smart phones and we would fight daily battles against other clans. It was a good game for me because it didn’t need to take more than ten minutes a day and yet it kept me in daily contact with my kids. It was fun and our clan at its max grew to about 50 people, all of whom were close friends or family. We grew to be a true "Clan" and while we lived all over the content and many of us had never met we were "family".

At this point Rick was going through a very tough spell in his fight against cancer and spent most of his day sitting around his house dwelling on his problems. I suggested he join the clan and “Rick the Rock” was born. The game was perfect for him and he was instantly thrown into a family of fifty or more members. Everyone loved Rick and it gave him something else to think about other than his own problems.

In time the clan went the way of everything else in this life but Rick was now left with a new group of friends. After years of great health, Ricks cancer finally returned and he declined quickly. The last week or two have been very painful for Rick and last week he was finally taken to the hospital. Ricks son Doug arrived last week and him and Kathy have spent nearly every hour since at Ricks side. 

Losing a loved one is hard enough even when we know that they are in a better place and that we will eventually join them. I can't even imagine what it would be like without that knowledge. Rick, I am a better man for having known you. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Grad Party


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Alex works at Wells Fargo. He got the job mainly because they needed a Spanish speaker and he started out as a teller but Alex’s boss, Pablo Grenada quickly saw that Alex is perfect for this job. He speaks excellent Spanish, he is friendly, loves working with people, he’s compassionate, and he uses good judgement in all that he does. He has been promoted up the ranks quickly and is thinking that he may just make a career out of the banking business. I don’t know the business, but apparently Alex is a banker, whatever that is. I know he makes loans.
Pablo decided to throw Alex a grad party while we were up there and it was a great party. Unfortunately Sarah and Ben had left so it was just Lisa and I and Alycia’s family. The Sanchez’s also came and a bunch of Alex’s friends were there.
The food was a taco bar and you can never go wrong with a taco bar. It was delicious. Lisa also brought “U” shaped donuts for desert. They were a hit.

Alex has two very good friends, Nick and Whitney, who he hangs out with a lot. They were at the party as well. Two of his co-workers were also there, Sierra and another girl who I can’t remember her name. And then, of course, Pablo’s family was there. Pablo’s kids love Alex and I think after the party they love Trevor. He played with them all night. The last picture is from left to right, Alex, Whitney, Sierra and Nick.
In case you’re wondering, the dog that looks like a rat is Sierra’s and her name is Bunny.
Alex has good friends and a good boss. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get a picture of Alex and Pablo.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Birthday Aunt Nola

As luck would have it, we happened to be in Salt Lake City the same weekend as Aunt Nola’s birthday party. It was great to see people I haven’t seen since I was a teenager. It was virtually impossible to get all of my cousins in one picture so I went around taking pictures of us individually. All of Aunt Nola’s kids were there plus I was able to see Lynn, one of Uncle Jay's kids. I met a bunch of relatives on the Cahoon side but perhaps the coolest person I met was Aunt Nola’s sister and her husband who drove down from Calgary for the party. It was a very full house.
I think it is kind of cool when people say I look just like Uncle Merlin. I have had many people tell me that but Saturday evening at Aunt Nola’s party I had at least three more people tell me. More than one person has told me that I look more like Uncle Merlin than Clark does. Just to see how close the resemblance is I thought I would post a side by side picture of us. You know, I guess we do look a lot alike. I always thought I took after the Leavitt side of the family but the picture is pretty convincing that I may be more Lybbert than Leavitt.

This is me with Lynne Lybbert Nielsen, Lynn is Uncle Jay’s daughter. She is a runner and has completed dozens of marathons. She’s kind of my idol.

Left to right is Lari Lybbert Dirkmaat, Merla Lybbert Berndt (Both Aunt Nola’s daughters) Lynne Lybbert Nielsen and myself. Lari is the oldest and Merla is the third child.
Me with Clark Lybbert and Louis Lybbert Nygaard. Louis is Aunt Nola’s fourth and Clark is their sixth. Uncle Merlin and Aunt Nola’s fifth child, Perry, passed away when he was a child. Perry was just younger than me. 
Me with Ruth Lybbert Renland. Ruth is Aunt Nola's second child.