Today is the one-month anniversary of my father-in-law joining Jesus in heaven.  The whole family has spent time reflecting on his life, what he meant to each one.  His memorial service was a beautiful tribute, with many sharing their favorite memories.  I did not speak that day, so I now want to take my turn to tell you what I will miss, what I loved, and what he meant to me.  Psalm 10:7  “We all have happy memories of good men gone to their reward.”

My earliest memory goes way back to when I was in grade school.  Bonnie, my mother-in-law, was my fifth grade Sunday school teacher.  She had several of us over for lunch after church.  At one point during the meal, “Mr. Margo” was teasing us, and pulled out a $100 bill from his wallet (for the life of me- I can’t remember why).  I had never seen one before, so I was completely impressed.  That makes my first memory of him one where I thought he was kind, funny and … rich!  Hah!

When I married Ed, he and his dad built house together.  His dad taught him how to always work hard.  In fact, I have never seen two people work as intensely or as fast.  For twenty years they labored together, with Eddie considering his dad his best friend.

My favorite part of their working relationship was the “family-insider-information” we were privy to.  Neno would often share with Ed all the latest happenings with the other seven brothers and sisters.  These updates would be followed by, “Don’t tell your mom I told you.”  Each night (and I literally mean “each”) as Eddie came through the door I would ask, “What did your dad say today?”  We had quite an effective information network established.

Neno called me “Margo.”  I loved that.  He always greeted me with a shy, sweet smile- offering to make me some coffee.  I felt like I was his favorite and that he loved my kids the best.  What a surprise to find out at his funeral that everyone in the family felt the same way.  Goes to show you how remarkable he was!

Eddie and I had the privilege of being in Hawaii with his mom and dad about a decade ago.  Ed’s mom really loved the snorkeling- spending hours in the ocean going out quite a distance.  Well… we were in a souvenir shop when we saw on a coffee mug that Bonnie’s name in Hawaiian was “Poni.”  Neno nicknamed her “Snorki-Poni” … which brought a contagious giggle to all of us over the next few years.

Eddie viewed his dad as the most discerning person he knew.  Pretty much every major decision we faced (okay… the minor ones too) Ed would discuss with his dad.  We admired his wisdom, relying on his counsel.  Recently, we have had some upsetting road issues on our property to deal with.  Both of us have missed having our favorite advisor around to offer encouragement.

Life does march on, but our hearts tend to want to stand still… remembering those who have left us.  I am very much comforted with the thought that Neno has found my mom in heaven- putting that incredible information network back in motion.  I smile, picturing him updating her with stories about my children she never got to meet.  Stories of Jessica’s strong convictions, Cory’s laid back personality and Olivia’s affectionate ways.  Perhaps he will tell her of my similar struggle with cancer, but how God chose to bring me victoriously through it.  I find myself being envious of the “no-more-sorrow, walking with Jesus” type of eternal life they are both enjoying.

As the old hymn enthusiastically declares:

“When we all get to heaven,

What a day of rejoicing that will be.

When we all see Jesus… (and Neno, and my mom, Devona, and… ______)

We’ll sing and shout the victory!!!