I thought I’d post the text of Kent’s funeral. I’m off work today on some very important business and had a few moments…
Good morning everyone.
We are here again. It was not very long ago that we were in this same room, saying goodbye to Grandpa. And now we are back to say goodbye to Kent. The eldest son.
For me, my first thought is that Grandpa leaving and now Kent shows me that time is definitely marching on, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. My second thought is that I’m glad we have each other. Because I would not want to walk through this life without my very big family. I’m lucky to have you guys, and so was Kent.
So again, today we’ll try and walk through Kent’s life and try and come out on the otherside with Hope, and maybe forgiveness. Because we are family that needs Hope, and we are a family that needs to forgive.
So, I’m going to pray, and Jeff is going to start.
Jesus get us through this. I told grandma I would get her though it but it’s you that we all need.
Jeff you can start
Uncle Kent raced his first car before he was born. If I have the story straight it was a yellow ford convertible. Grandma’s contractions were getting stronger, Grandpa was in the back seat freaking out as any first time father should, and Grandma’s brother Mac was driving the car.
Grandma and Grandpa had left Toronto for the weekend and were visiting Grandma’s Great Aunt Alice and Uncle Nash’s farm in Morrisburg. No story is complete without mentioning Morrisburg. Apparently the head of obstetrics at their Hospital had told Grandpa to just go and not worry about an early labour. “Irving, if it’s gonna go, it’s gonna go.”
And well, it went.
“Are we there yet Mac? How many more lights?”
“Not much further Ruth”
40 minutes of driving brought them to a hospital in Cornwall, and Uncle Kent was born. Premature at 7 months. I have 3 premature little triplet girls at home, born at 7 months I know how fragile that is. I’m pretty sure Cornwall in the 50’s wasn’t as advanced as McMaster Children’s Hospital. But out Uncle Kent came.
Fast forward through 30 years of life that Jeff talked about. Life as an older brother to Roger, and at first as Grandma’s little helper and sometime doting brother to Karen. Through some good times with his family, brothers and sisters. But not always. My birth and adoption away from the family. The tragic death of his younger brother Roger.
Through all of that Kent was racing again. He was wild. He was reckless. Grandma begged him not to get a motorcycle. He did. He took a motorbike he couldn’t handle onto the QEW and was run off the road. He got hurt bad and life as he knew it ended.
At this point it’s fair to ask, Um Mark, where is the hope in that?
Well, we can talk about his contributions to memory research. Which I think are wonderful. And we as a family are happy that research could be done and that Kent was a part of that body of work. And through that I do have hope for other people, that this research can help us understand and care for others.
But that still doesn’t really give us Hope for Kent specifically. He still lost the best part of his life. We had a version of him the past 30 years, the only version of him I ever knew, quiet, always ready to eat another piece of pie with Melanie. But, really, in a lot of the ways that matter, he died many years ago. No chance to have a wife. No children of his own. No chance to gather good memories of time well spent. No chance to grow out of his wild self and hopefully develop, apologize. We had him with us for 33 years after, but he could not hold onto us.
As always, I think the only hope for Kent is Jesus.
Now, I have zero evidence that Kent in his wild last days he believed in Jesus at all.
But, I don’t care.
Because I read the bible: Romans 5:8 “For God shows his love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.”
Let me translate that for you: Jesus died for Kent. Wild Kent. Foolish Kent. Jesus died to save him.
And feel this:
We are all fools in Gods eyes. Full of anger, unbelief, resentment, you insert your personal failing into the blank. I know what mine are.
Again I read the bible “There is no one who does good, no not even one.” Psalm 14
See might think we come to God and this life with all our goodness. I’m a good person, or at least pretty good. I deserve a good life. I work hard I deserve to x y and z. Really? You ever get angry? Held a grudge? The bible calls that equal to Murder. You ever lie about anything? Then you’re a liar. You ever take an extra long lunch break, it’s called time ‘theft’ in the workplace that costs the U.S. $70 billion a year. Ever wish you had something someone else had? That commandment 9&10. Coveting. Ever acted selfishly? That’s called Idolatry. That’s basically commandments 1, 2 and 3 because you’re saying I’m in charge of my own life, when you’re not. That’s the biggest sin of all because you’re actually worshipping yourself. You’ve kept all those? Wow that’s a lot of pride and arrogance you’ve got. That’s a sin too.
You see we’re all broken and lost. You just might not have noticed because you haven’t fallen off your bike yet.
Which is why the Gospel is such good news. We are all fools. And Jesus died for all of us.
Do you know Easter is coming? That 2000 years ago Jesus looked into the future and knew who you were, knew who Kent was, and loved you and him enough to die. That he hung on a cross and was buried, went down into hell, and three days later kicked the gate off of that place and walked out so we could too.
So what does that mean for Kent?
I think it means Jesus is in charge. And He is good.
I heard it said best “there will be surprises in heaven.”
And I hope to be surprised at the people I see there.
I hope to be astonished at how wide and how deep is the love of God.
So much so that it brings me to my knees,
Saying “Yes Jesus. You are Good. No one is good and forgiving like you.”
I hope to see Kent with a new body.
I hope to see Kent with a new mind. A mind restored.
I think there is work to do in heaven. Working and living a full life doing something with that new solid body and mind.
And I expect after millennia, the time that Kent spent on earth will feel like a premature life compared to the time spent in heaven really and finally living.
I hope to meet the real Kent there.
The Kent as he always should have been.
That is the only hope that we have.
And so Kent we send you on your way. We pray Jesus is doing what he does best: finding people who are lost and redeeming them. I hope you are hearing his voice even now. “Kent, my name is Jesus. I am the Alpha and Omega, you did not follow me but I have come for you. I died to fix what was broken in you. Come with me, I’m going to remake you into the man you were supposed to be.”