Monday, November 12, 2007

Just goodbye for now

(Blog title courtesy of my talented brother in law, whose music can be purchased at www.dwightplett.com.)


Last year at the InScribe conference in Edmonton, there was an older man who had taken the bus all the way from Prince George, BC, to Edmonton to fellowship with us. I didn't recognize him, but I recognized his name immediately - H. Maxwell Butcher entered many of the poetry contests held by InScribe and usually took home a prize. When I asked him why he hadn't come to previous conferences, a sweet sad smile crossed his face and he said he had been unwilling to leave his wife. The gently acceptant shrug that punctuated that sentence told me all I needed to know about what had changed.

Mr Butcher was a delight. He was interested in everything. He was eager to try new things in the poetry workshop I facilitated. He used a walker and didn't hear very well, and yet everywhere he went, he was smiling. I found myself actively seeking him out at mealtimes because of the great good cheer he radiated.

He took time out of his schedule, after he returned home, to call and thank me for the workshop. I've had a few conversations with him since, over the phone, and now and then, a new poem will show up in my mailbox, with an intro like "I've tried another one of those triolets you showed us how to do!"

I was disappointed to hear that he was not well enough to travel to InScribe this year, and the news of his death saddened me. But yesterday, as I searched for words to wrap around this man, I thought of his tall form stooped over a walker, and the gentle sorrow in his voice when he talked about his wife. That picture faded and refocussed - Mr Butcher, striding tall and proud in heaven, with his beloved Eva at his side. I don't know much about how things will be, but I am willing to bet that he is smiling.

It's a good, good life you've lived, a life for Jesus, I think, when a woman half your age who interacted with you maybe half a dozen times is this close to tears because you've gone ahead.

7 comments:

Michele said...

...because you've gone ahead...

i like that.

Heather said...

We should all leave such a worthy legacy.

LC said...

We will see him again. Well said, Susan. Thank you.

Megan DiMaria said...

Your lovely eulogy brought a tear to my eye. Isn’t it curious how we never realize how our lives touch others’?

Thanks for sharing this, Susan.

The Koala Bear Writer said...

I'm close to tears too, Susan, and I talked to him less than you did. He was a lovely man, and I remember his smile too. He also used to send me little bits of his writing... I always looked forward to seeing them and the notes that he included. I'll miss him. Thanks for sharing this.

violet said...

What a lovely tribute. I wish I had met him.

Anon said...

Hi, I'm Dorothy, and H Maxwell Butcher was my father. He's around me all the time, and at home with my mother, Eva who passed one year before him. He was the best person I have ever know. Thank so much for the kind words.