wait to worry

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass

~ Dale Wimbrow

I spent yesterday at a funeral service for a man I adored.

Strike that.


Yes, that’s better. Adore still. I have not stopped.

Although people are often elevated in death, my cousin, Bud was everything we said he was yesterday. He was a mensch in the truest sense of the word. He was warmth and love personified. He was joy; he was light; he was generosity. He was compassion. He was an easy smile, a ready laugh and a song, not just in his heart, but there to share in all its off-key, mangled-lyric glory.

He was the one who made each and every one of us feel special. The one who looked at you with eyes that saw straight through to your soul, and reveled in the goodness he found there. He was funny. God, was he funny. And he was a hero. To his wife, to his children, his grandchildren and to the nation who honored his service by seeing him off beneath her stars and stripes.

My cousin, Mike, Bud’s son (the step- having long since become superfluous) told the congregation yesterday that when Bud was diagnosed with the illness that would take his life, he called him. “Are you scared?” he asked.

“No,” Bud had said, “I don’t have time for that.” He was too busy, he explained, writing his own eulogy for Mike to read when the time came.

Tears flowed as Mike read Bud’s words yesterday. But so too, we laughed. Because even in the midst of the grief, there was no way not to laugh. This was Bud, after all.

“I hope it’s not raining,” Bud had written. And added for good measure, “If I ever offended any of you in any way, I hope you’ll accept my apology.”

I would argue that Bud’s eulogy was not written that day. It was written every day for years. Bud built a life around who he was and in so doing, he touched every person who was lucky enough to come through it.

As we drove home yesterday, I tried to process the day – the heartbreak of loss, the joy in the remembering, the closeness of family. I thought a lot about how we live our lives and the stuff that really matters at the end of the journey. Of all that we’d heard and felt yesterday, there was one line that spoke the loudest. And of course, it came straight from the man himself.

A friend of his told us that she and her husband had gone to visit him last week, just days before he passed. His parting words to them that day? “It’s later than you think. Have fun.”


Bud, I know where you are, there is fun. There’s music and joy and the beloved daughter who you missed so much. Heck, there might even be fish. But whether there are or not, it’s gonna be a great trip. Because it never really was about catching anything anyway.

You were loved. You will be missed. You will always be remembered.

22 thoughts on “wait to worry

  1. Jess, I am sorry for your loss. We all need someone in our lives who sees through to our soul (even when we are afraid to see what’s there). I love the line about “it’s later than you think.” True for me this week especially as my daughter DROVE ME HOME FROM YOGA. When did she start walking even? Talking? Laughing? Bearing grownup responsibilities? *hugs*

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss…. I think you just paid tribute to him in such a beautiful way….. I think the Dale Wimbrow passage you added was just perfect. May your memories sustain you……

  3. I’m sorry for your loss. It sounds like Bud knew the best way to live life – with kindness, compassion, humour, and love. This post was a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man. I hope his memories stay with you forever.

  4. Thanks for sharing. My heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. In my thoughts and prayers as always.

  5. Thank you Jess. Bud would have loved this, too. You summed up what we were all feeling yesterday and will continue to feel for the rest of our lives. Bud continues to be “the best”!

    I love you and thank you, again!

  6. “It’s later than you think. Have fun.” I’m not going to forget that anytime soon – that I can assure you.

    My deepest condolences, Jess. Your cousin Bud sounds like a wonderful person indeed.

  7. I’m sorry for our loss as well, cousin Jess. Thanks for helping me feel so much geographically closer to the family by having written this gorgeous tribute to Bud. You are such heart and compassion yourself, my dear!

  8. I’m sorry for your loss, Jess. Your cousin was a wonderful man and I can tell that by how you wrote about him and about how his service went. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Keep the faith and know that he is now watching over all of you and is in Heaven with God. tight hugs

  9. Thank you Bud for your words of great wisdom and thank you Jess for sharing them with us. Bud’s spirit shines bright and his words helped this mama tonight. From reading your facebook status updates and post today it looks like the past fews days have been rough….it looks like they have been really, really, rough. I may not always comment but please know that I read your words and your sharing your life is a gift to me and to so many others. Sending thoughts and prayers that tomorrow is a better day.

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