Friday, July 27, 2012

Remembering Mr. Cliff

This past Monday the world lost one of the best men I have ever been privileged to call friend. Mr. Cliff won his battle against cancer and went to heaven to be with Jesus. Yesterday more people than I could ever begin to count gathered at our church to say good-bye and to remember this incredible husband, father, friend, and boss, who touched every single person's life he ever met. 

Around the time Eli was born, Mr. Cliff found out that he had an aggressive form of colon cancer. For the next four years, he battled this awful disease with such dignity. He never got down or depressed. He never asked the question, "Why me?" He always wore a smile and trusted that God knew what was best.

There have been so many things that have been written and said about Mr. Cliff since he passed away. He truly was one of a kind. Mr. Cliff was very special to our family. When we moved down here in 2005, he was Josh's boss. I can remember Josh meeting Cliff for the first time. Cliff didn't know who Josh was, he just knew Josh's mom, Sue, but he took a chance on Josh and the rest as they say is history. It didn't take long for Cliff to move from just being Josh's boss to being his friend, his mentor, and his golfing buddy. Josh and Mr. Cliff had such a special bond. He was so much more than just a boss to our family. When Eli was born, he and Mrs. Debra, his wife, were one of the first people to come see us and share in our joy. Anytime we went to the bank to visit Josh, we always made sure to check to see if Cliff was there so we could walk upstairs to see him. Eli loved going to see Cliff. I can remember many days of Cliff crawling on his hands and knees in his office (in his business clothes) chasing after balls that Eli would throw. He was one of the first people to see Eli take his practice steps when he started walking. I can remember him spinning Eli in his office chair making Eli cackle out loud with laughter. He was one of the first to say how good of an arm Eli had when it came to throwing baseballs. He loved kids and it showed!

One of my favorite times to see Mr. Cliff were at our city's annual Relay for Life events. He was such a great spokesperson for cancer awareness. He encouraged everyone he met to get a colonscopy, to donate to the American Cancer Society, and to do all they could to help find a cure. At the Relay for Life events, he was always the one wearing the biggest smile and passing out high fives, hugs, and encouraging words to everyone.

Relay for Life 2009

Cliff was such a vital part of our community. He was involved in so many organizations and contributed so much to the growing of our community. He wanted to make our city a wonderful place!

Cliff was one of those people who enjoyed life and lived life to the fullest. When he got the diagnosis about his cancer, it would have been real easy for him to give up right then and never enjoy another moment of his life. Cliff was just the opposite. He lived every single day as if it were his last. He traveled to places with his family, spent time with his friends and loved ones, ate good food, and made so many wonderful memories. 

Relay for Life, 2010

Cliff with his wife, Debra, and his oldest daughter, Katie

Relay for Life, 2011

This past year Cliff's battle with cancer got harder, but that didn't change Cliff's outlook on life at all. Even when he was in such pain, he was such an inspiration to every person he came in contact with. So many people made the comment that they would go see him and try to encourage him and they were the ones that would leave encouraged and lifted up. He had a way of making everyone he met feel like they were his best friend and that at that particular moment they were the most important person in the world. 

Relay for Life 2012

This is one of my favorite pictures of Cliff

Cliff with his youngest daughter, Jessie, and his wife, Debra

Debra, his wife, is one of the most incredible women I've ever met. She is such rock and was there for Cliff taking care of him, ministering to him, helping him, praying for him, comforting him, and being an incredible helpmate. They had a special relationship and Cliff adored her. I love looking at these pictures of the two of them. 

This last picture makes me smile because this was Cliff. He's taking a picture with Spiderman and is so happy about it. Most people would balk at a picture like this, but not Cliff. Eli asked him to take a picture with Spiderman and he did it just to make Eli smile. Cliff will always be a part of this world because of the impact he left on so many people. His spirit, his kindness, his memory will live on. I know he's in a much better place and I'm so thankful for the promise of heaven. I'm so glad that one day soon we'll all get to see Cliff again. What a wonderful day that will be!

1 comment:

Penny said...

I didn't personally "know" Cliff and Debra, but knew of them. Cliff left an amazing legacy of love behind. His wife and daughters must be so heartbroken, but also relieved that he is no longer in pain. Not that he showed it~ I never saw Cliff that he wasn't smiling, even at the Relays. Your post is so sweet~ another testimony to what a kind, godly man he was. :)

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