My Mom's side of the family, The Rineharts, have seen a lot of loss over the past couple of years. After my Dad passed, my Mom lost three sisters in one year: Naomi, Leola and her beloved Bonnie. She had lost two of her brothers prior to that. Her heart has been very heavy this past year and her mind insists she relive these losses every day. Now, her nephew and my cousin Albert Wayne; the son of Albert Sr., her only surviving sibling, has passed away.
Al's obituary reminds me how much I'd forgotten and didn't even know about him. I knew about him playing fullback on scholarship for the Marshall Thundering Herd and that he had been a Facilities Manager for Kennedy Space Center in the '60s, helping support the Man on the Moon launch. I didn't know how far that career took him and that he loved to fish and shrimp in the Indian River in Florida. He was close to my older sister Shirley and I wish I'd known him better.
With every passing, I have to imagine the joyous Rinehart family reunion that's gathering in the stars. Aunt Bonnie would be whipping up something magically delicious, great and possibly tall tales would be told around the table and the laughter, oh, that signature Rinehart laughter....particularly from the women, my sister Mona among them and amazing grandmother Agatha probably being the culprit making everyone laugh...that laughter would just be lifting the clouds and rattling the Heavenly rafters. The other angels would be asking, "What in Heaven is going over at THAT cloud?". I will look at a starry night and think of that perpetual celebration waiting for the rest of us to join in.
I take comfort believing Albert Wayne is walking into these celestial open arms. I will also keep that thought foremost in my mind and pray that when Mom's time comes, the thought of this blessedly wild and wonderful welcoming committee in Heaven will make me smile through the tears.
RIP Albert Wayne.
Donations in Al's memory can be made to William Childs Hospice House at 381 Medplex Parkway, Palm Bay, FL 32907. - See more at: