Lord’s Day: July 11, 2021
Today I would like to write an open-letter to my 36 year old nephew, Dustin Chance Weeks. An open-letter because Dustin was found dead on the morning of July 6, 2021 and you may glean something from my letter to Dustin.
Today, your our family and friends are holding a memorial service in honor of your life. You are worthy of honor, as are all men, because you were created in the image of God. I first meet you at another man’s funeral service, that of your grandfather’s, whom you called Paw. I meet Paw once before his death but I feel as though I know him through the eyes of his daughter, my wife, and your Aunt Darlene. She has trained your children, since the time that they were very little, to call her Aunt Favorite. You were but five years old when Darlene and I married.
During the early years of our marriage I saw and played with you often. We lived just a few miles away, as I was stationed at Fort Polk in Louisiana. We would come up to Stanley to see Maw and all of Darlene’s family, and you would often come down to us, and stay with us. I remember how you went squirrel hunting with me. It had been raining, so the creek was running swiftly. We attempted to cross the creek, balancing ourselves on a log, and you fell in the creek. I had to go in and get you out and carry you on my back, back to the house. Darlene reminded me of another time that we were fishing and you were about to step on a water-moccasin snake, but I pushed you out of the way. Everyone recalls the story of how you put your big fish back, at your Aunt Kayla’s house, because you thought that I said it had Aides, when I actually said, “That fish is full of eggs.” That is a good memory and everyone gets a chuckle from it.
Yesterday, I was looking for something else, when I found the plastic holder in which I use to carry pictures in my wallet. In this were pictures of Darlene, our children (Bethany and Daniel), something of my grandfather’s, and a picture of you. In the pre-smartphone days, one carried pictures in his wallet incase someone asked about his family; also, that he could see them when far away. I believe that that picture was in my wallet, when I went away to Korea. You were also in the Army, during a time of war, and you went away to Iraq. I do not know what you saw there but I know that it changed you in some way.
Your family dynamics parallel our own. Darlene came into our marriage with Daniel and I adopted him as my own son. Your mother Rayleen came into marriage to Ricky with you and he adopted you as his son. Darlene gave birth to our daughter Bethany and your mother gave birth to your sister Brianne; you and Daniel are four years and some change apart in age; Brianne and Bethany are two years and some change apart in age. When we were first married, your mother and aunt Darlene were sisters, but they have really really become close during the past few years. As they have gotten older, the few years in age between them as dwindled away.
I remember seeing you and your Stanley high school team when the state baseball championship and I remember you staying with us as you tried out for a college team. You stayed with us often at Ft. Polk, in our home in Garland, TX, but I did not see you for 3 years when we went away to Colorado. When we returned and moved to Whitehouse, TX, you were a teenager and becoming a man. You stayed with us a few times at our home in Whitehouse for varying reasons: when trying out for a college baseball team and the last time was for some training for your job. The desk and chair in my study from which I am writing this letter, is in the very spot in which you laid while staying with us.
Dustin, I am writing this letter to you because I miss you and want to tell you that I love you and have fond memories of you. Your father, mother, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins, daughters and friends miss you. Your nephew is to young to even know that you are gone but we will not forget you and will hold the memories of you all the days that we walk on the earth. Good bye Dustin! I love you and miss you, but I hope to see in in the resurrection of all the dead on the last day.
In Jesus Christ,