I've wanted to blog about this, but then again I haven't. On February 20, Gary Pack passed away in his home...right next door to my parents. He and his wife along with their two young kids were living in that house when my parents moved in before I was born. My mom went into labor after saying good night to their friends and neighbor and had me hours later almost 38 years ago. That's a long time to know someone and care about someone...all of your life. This man watched me grow up, he watched me play with his kids, he danced with me on his feet. He was a man who lived life BIG. This is a picture (below) of him smiling his so, so familiar smile at my dad. He was almost always smiling and laughing. I can still hear that big voice saying hello and laughing. It always made me smile too.
There are so many memories, so many stories about this man. One story his daughter told me at his visitation was a time when he made a Halloween mask out of newspaper and went to trick or treat my parents. I can just hear him saying "trick or treat" and laughing. His son was the same age as my brother and his daughter was just two years older than me. I do remember he and my dad taking us kids trick or treating. I remember running away from home and going next door to the Pack house and they let me in and go out on their back porch. I'm sure they called my parents and my parents probably saw me from the window until I decided to move back home minutes later. I remember so much.
I can't possibly describe him to you, he's one of those guys you just had to know. I'm so, so grateful that I did know him. I love him and his sweet family so much and they are heavy on my heart. His funeral was perfect...he planned every detail. They brought him through the outdoor pavilion with the American flag draped over his casket. They shot off guns and played "Taps." Helicopters flew overhead as they folded his flag to present to his wife (Sandy). Gary flew helicopters for years. It was a beautiful day and I was there with my family (mom, dad, Kevin-my brother, Dave, and my kids). We said goodbye to a brave, strong, and live hard kind of man that we loved and considered family. My parents lost a friend they had known and raised kids with and lived beside for YEARS. His battle with cancer now done and his joyful soul with his Lord and Savior.
Here is how I remember Gary most (pic below)...always making others smile.
I love you Gary, I'll see you in Heaven...please welcome me with your boisterous hello and smile and give me a great big hug when I get there.