He always showed up

We got the call last Sunday morning as we were headed to my son’s family’s church in Cedar Rapids. I knew the minute I saw who it was from what the call was about.

My brother-in-law, Bruce (Vandagriff), had been bravely fighting an 8-month-long battle with brain cancer. We had just visited him the day before at the hospice home in Fort Dodge.

The call confirmed what we had been dreading to hear.

We pulled into the church parking lot and decided to go ahead and go to the service as planned since each of us needed spiritual help to get through the day.

During the service one of the parishioners gave a talk about how the people in her church always showed up when needed.

Her talk made me think immediately of my brother-in-law.

You see, Bruce always showed up when he was needed.

If his wife, daughters, son-in-law or grandchildren ever needed anything, he showed up.

If anyone in the rest of the family ever needed any help, he was always there.

If one of his friends needed a hand, Bruce never hesitated, he just showed up.

If you just needed someone to talk to, Bruce showed up.

If there was any community project that needed to be done, he showed up.

It didn’t matter where, when or who – Bruce was there when people needed him.

When we went to see the family later Sunday afternoon, all his family and several of Bruce’s friends showed up for him. They all knew he would have done the same for them.

One of his daughters posted a tribute to her dad on Facebook and hundreds of Bruce’s friends and family showed up to post comments, hugs and condolences.

All his family and his friends will show up again this Thursday to say goodbye to him and to support the family.

But everyone who will be there will know in their hearts that Bruce will continue to show up forever in the memories of each of us.

Mike Schlesinger

Marshalltown

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