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he was the sweetest man

November 25, 2013

William “Bill” Robert Rigney (1945-2013)

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It’s been a few days now since we received the phone call from family telling us that my dear father-in-law’s six-year battle with Alzheimer’s was coming to an end.  We didn’t know how much time he had left, so we packed up and loaded the van in a hurry.  We wanted to be with our dad one last time, we wanted to say our goodbyes.   I had two goals after we hung up the phone: 1.) get to Texas as fast as we could and  2.) don’t accidentally leave one of the children in Minnesota.  By God’s grace, we were successful in both.

This morning, Joe’s father was taken home to be with the Lord.   It was bittersweet.  Bitter, because we loved him so and feel the loss of a father and grandfather deeply. Sweet, because we know his death was swallowed up in victory.  Our father lost the battle with Alzheimer’s, but because of Jesus, he has won the war over death.

I owe much to this man.  His legacy fills my home with laughter and gentleness and affection and glad-hearted service.  He taught by example how to lay one’s life down for those you love.  I could always count on him wrapping his arms around me, giving me a tight hug and kindly saying “Hello, sweetie, how are your folks?”  He was always thinking of others, never once bringing attention to himself. He was the sweetest man, it’s how I’ll always remember him.

For years to come, I’ll get to watch the sowing of his fatherly affection for my husband bear much fruit in the lives of my own children.

It’s no wonder that, not long after Bill died, my husband had the tickle fight of his life with our boys.

It was the best way to honor him.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 26, 2013 12:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing. What a testimony to God’s love for him…and love for you to enjoy the gift of a godly father-in-law. My dad is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. His mom and dad both had it. It can be scary and unsettling. Still, at the end of my Granny’s life, I read a Psalm 103 to her. She kept looking at me-and telling me-”You are such a sweetie. Who are you?” <3 But when I read verses 11-12, she focused in and shouted, "Hallelujah!" It was such a comfort to see the keeping power of God in her life. As I read of Mr. Rigney, I was encouraged again to see God's keeping power! The sweetest man was sweet because of the beautiful work of regeneration! What a blessing to see God's power in Mr. Rigney's weakness. My faith is stronger after reading this post. I love you, friend.

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