By Philip Hilty
Today I laid my brother (bro) to his final earthly resting place. He was buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery, right at the end of the old home place, where our oldest daughter Alison now lives with her husband Kelvin Miller. On the north is where Pete and Wanda built their new home and raised their children.
I must say that I learned so much from Pete growing up together. As bros, we both knew that each of us was there for one another. Pete’s life was one of many trials and blessings, all of which taught him to trust in his Great God.
Over the last 45 days, I not only was reminded of how to live but also how to die. Pete loved hymns! One day in the hospital, Brenda and I relieved Wanda from an especially hard week. This Sunday Pete had another testing, causing the nurses and doctors some concern. He became stable again but had to have a mask on from the bi-pap machine. It was hard to visit him like this, so I started playing hymns for him. The first one was ‘How Great Though Art.’ The next thing I knew was that Pete was mouthing the words to the hymn and even sang out loud. Weak but able to be heard. The next hymn was ‘What A Friend We Have in Jesus’ followed by ‘Nearer Still Nearer.’
I asked Pete if Jesus was a good friend. He nodded yes. The lessons I learned were these:
- Our God is a much, much bigger God than we can even imagine!
- As much as Jesus is a faithful friend to us, he wants us to be his hands and feet, sharing his love and being faithful friends to others!
- No matter how close we are to Christ, we can be closer.
- Finally, don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed!
Sunday, late afternoon, I went up to see Pete. He had several visitors that day and I was the last one. We talked for a while and then he said they were coming to move him to the apartment. I thought he was tired and confused so I brushed it off.
We very seldom said goodbye, more like see you later or until next time. After praying with him we said to one another, at the same time, “I love you bro!” Those were the last words we said to each other.
Looking back, I am convinced that the move he was referring to was his new heavenly home that he is now enjoying. He will greatly be missed but I am soooo happy for him! The look on his face in the casket was so content and free from pain. It almost said “look what I am enjoying!” Rest easy bro!