This is Josh, Rachel’s brother. Sarah (our sister) and I flew to LA after Christmas to help with arrangements for the memorial service, which went off without a hitch Thursday Jan 2nd at 4pm at Village Church.
The memorial service Thursday was… amazing. The pews were literally filled with people touched by Kevin. Friends made the program, organized worship songs, and set up a reception area. Kevin’s childhood friend Will gave a touching eulogy. It was especially meaningful to me because it gave us all insight into the person Kevin was before we met him. He was truly a gentle soul with big thoughts. I’m afraid parts of the service were a blur to me. Sarah, Rachel, and I sat in the front row crying. We killed off at least one box of tissue between us.
After the service we all moved to a large adjacent room for food and a reception, lovingly assembled by his friends. Again we were amazed by the number of friends and family who filled the room. Rachel talked and remembered with so many people while the kids ran around socializing and munching on cookies. Marilyn helped her take a time out when it became overwhelming, then Rachel rallied her courage and returned to greet more friends.
The night before the service I stayed up late putting together a photo montage. Rachel’s photo archive was stuck in Atlanta so I pulled photos from Facebook and scanned the snapshots Kevin’s friends personally handed me. In the end I think this was appropriate. We used only photos so meaningful they had been saved and shared by those who loved him. It was a beautiful vision of the full life he had lived; the people he had touched. I will post the video after the second service in Atlanta.
In the few days since the service life has slowed. The kids have mostly moved back into the rental house with Rachel. Sarah flew home to Atlanta Saturday morning and I will go home to Oregon Monday. Saturday Rachel and I took the kids to the Santa Monica for some relaxing down time. Jude road his balance bike on the boardwalk. They ate some ice cream of the future, (cookies ‘n cream, as I recall). We took the kids on carnival rides then soared above the beach on the ferris wheel, Jude all the while snapping away with his camera. After an hour of playing on the beach we drove to visit Aunt Kay and Cousin Claudia for dinner. The tired children fell asleep on the car ride back to Burbank. A day of semi-normalcy.
Rachel will stay in Burbank for two weeks, packing up the rental house and shipping things home. On the 18th she will fly home with the kids for the memorial service in Atlanta, then decide the next steps.
Next steps. That’s a hard phrase to say, but it’s reality. The Hill family has been fighting melanoma for two years. 100mph to zero would be a hard transition even if Kevin was with us. This new tighter family needs time to find it’s sea legs. I’m afraid no clever metaphor can ease this loss. Only the Lord can do that. They are taking life one day at a time, knowing that as this chapter ends a new one begins. What does this new chapter hold? We only know that they never walk alone.