You never walk alone

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.


7 thoughts on “You never walk alone

  1. Thank you so much for the post. I have been waiting to hear how things were going. From 100 mph to 0 is a good way to put it. Our thoughts and prayers are always with you all. May I say how grateful I am that Rachel and her little ones had you and Sarah to lean on. I know it was not easy, but we are family. Now we add Jen and Johnny and little ones. What a marvelous family we have; I am blown away. And then there are all the new friends, distant friends and family to add to our “family”. We are not alone, ever. Thank you all.

  2. What a beautifully stated post. Thank you so much Josh for being the kind of brother that everyone would like to have. Sarah and you are Rachel’s brother and sister by blood…but you are also her close friends and brother and sister in Christ. It is a blessing to be able to call all of you brother and sisters in Christ.
    Since we finally met you and Sarah you have been placed on our prayer list here at the Sponsler home. I pray that the blessings of today will fill you, Sarah, Rachel, Jude and Evie with His tremendous JOY!
    May the good Lord bless and keep you all, always!

  3. Great words..The service was beautiful and Kevin touched so many lives..Just WOW/…God is good all the time He is good!!! My prayers will always be with you Rachel you are a ROCK and we all know why..Just thank you Jesus for holding Rachel up and giving her the strength she will always need….without you I know this would not have been done so BEAUTFULLY!!!!

  4. Thank you for this post. I was not able to physically be at Kevin’s Memorial, but was there in Spirit. Just wanted to let you and Rachel know that the Hill family will stay in my prayers. With Jesus we never walk alone. God’s Peace! Margo

  5. Dear Rachel. We (grams) are so privileged to have you in our family. I thank Kevin for bringimg you to us. I feel Josh and Sarah are a blessing also. Jude and Evie are so precious. I look forward to following their growth with you. The memorial service for Kevin was phenomenal. I remember when I visited Kevin and his mom here in California ( I was living in Chicago). I recall being there once when Agnes had the cub scouts and the room was filled with busy little boys. After the meeting I asked Agnes: “why so many little boys?” She told me: “since Kevin was an only child I encourged him to have friends so he would not be alone”. As I sat in the lovely Church at the memorial service I thought how true this was. Kevin was never alone. The words of Josh are so true for you Rachel: you may be lonely at times but you will never be alone.
    Love you, aunt irene

  6. It’s a beautiful family photo full of inspiration. I can’t help but feel like Kevin is working the lense. Bless the Hill Family.

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