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A Tribute To A Friend

Today we say goodbye to my friend, Tim Witham.  I will miss his laughter.  He always had something funny to say.  I've made a lot of trips to the hospital the past few years and he was always there to greet me.  If I tried to talk to him about his health, he always managed to avoid talking about himself and would instead talk about what was wrong with me.

There were a few times when he did talk about himself, and I know that the only consolation in his passing is that he is no longer suffering.  The bible says that in Heaven God will wipe away all our tears and there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.  What great comfort and joy. What a blessed assurance!  This is great news for each of us, including Tim who suffered for so long.

One great memory I have of Tim Witham is the night Coach Dunlap put him in a basketball game.  I can't recall which game, maybe Rockcastle County.  I only know that with a couple of minutes left to play, Tim goes in and when the ball is passed to him, he dunked it.  This was back when dunking was not allowed in high school basketball.  Tim knew that.  He knew he would be whistled for a technical foul, but he did it anyway.  I am glad he did it, because it was something that Tim was able to talk about and laugh about for the next 28 years.  I always brought it up to him and he would re-tell the story over and over and over, and we would always laugh about it. No matter how often I brought it up, we always laughed about it. The years and years of laughter spent over that dunk far outweighed the technical foul.

Shakespeare said cowards die many times before their deaths.  The valiant never taste of death but once.  Tim was strong and encouraging.  He stayed positive right up to the end...and he was valiant.  He also fought his battle with great fortitude.  I think that word best describes Tim and his situation.  "True fortitude I take to be the quiet possession of a man's self, and an undisturbed doing of his duty, whatever evil besets or danger lies  in his way," said philosopher John Locke.  Someone else said the fortitude of a Christian consists in patience, not in enterprise which the poets call heroic. Fortitude implies a firmness and strength of mind, that enables us to do and suffer as we ought.  It rises upon the opposition, and, like a river, swells the higher for having its course stopped.

I was thinking just the other day of a quote I had read, and it seems only fitting that I close with it.  "Only the dead know the end of war." Tim fought bravely.  May he now rest in peace.




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