In some ways it seems like it has been a series of funerals since we moved here two years ago. Six to be exact. Make that seven.
Stanley E. Collins passed away last Friday morning. Stan was my across-the-street neighbor growing up and the father of my best friend Elizabeth - Liz. Both being the youngest of five by several years - we were "the girlies" - pretty much inseparable during our growing up years. And so the Collins' home was a second home to me - and Stan, like a second father. A few knocks on their door and a "come in!" and there he was, always ready with a "Hey Em!" and a big hug. He was full of enthusiasm and always seemed anxious to do something special for "the girlies" - like a trip to 7-eleven for slurpees or to rent a video for the almost weekly sleepovers. Stan definitely had a soft spot for his little girl Liz - and we sometimes used that to our advantage. Like the time we really wanted baby bunnies for Easter. After my parents said "no" we asked Stan and as planned - he got us some bunnies! Stan had a great sense of humor and always had a story to tell. He was also a big gamer and many of my childhood memories of time with the Collins involved playing games - such as trivial pursuit and card games.
As the years went by and I got married - his love and generosity continued. He allowed Wes and I to stay in the Collins' cabin for part of our honeymoon - and even sent us off with a generous amount of spending money. And later when I was just barely pregnant with Addie, the Collins invited me to travel with Liz and her parents to New York City and to see some church history sites. I remember him being very patient with my first trimester complaints.
Stan was a good man with a big heart. This silly post does not even come close to expressing my feelings of love and admiration for this man. I am still in shock that he is gone. It became more real when I saw his picture and read his obituary tonight. Then the tears really started to fall. I just can't believe it. And my dear, dear friend Liz. My heart goes out to her, her mother and her family at this time.
You can read his obituary here.