31 Days of Paying Attention — Day Twenty-Nine


Our community lost a good friend two weeks ago. A teacher and an artist; a husband, father, and grandfather. He was kind, gentle, loved the outdoors, supported UCLA football (even though he never went there), and enjoyed being part of a large, extended, slightly crazy family-by-marriage and the even larger and crazier family that was his by virtue of being a long-time member of our congregation. He and his wife are almost exactly the same ages as my husband and I, so to us, his death felt decidedly premature. I was able to visit with him a couple of times after he went on hospice care and both times, I was blessed simply to be in his presence. 

Leaving behind people you love is not an easy thing to do. He admitted that. And facing into death is a scary prospect for all of us. He acknowledged that as well. But he was confident of the outcome, secure in his position as a child of God. I am so grateful that Arvid was a part of my story, that he was an encourager to me and to so many. I miss him now. I will miss him always.

But Arvid paid attention well. He fought hard to live as long as he possibly could — eleven years of treatment for lymphoma, four different re-occurrences. Finally, he said, “Enough” to chemo-therapy and he and all who loved him got ready for him to be gone from this life. Yes, it was too soon. But it was also exactly right. 


The service was filled with family and lovely in every way. In Arv’s memory and honor (he was fluent in Spanish and loved Mexican food), the family provided a delicious taco dinner for the entire group that assembled that evening — about 300 of us. We sat under the fading sun and laughed and cried and talked about how good life is, how glad we are that Arv was part of it.

It was a good evening. Very good. 

And now we — and especially his family — learn to live without his physical presence among us. Hopefully, we learned some important things from this good man. Things like paying attention to the things that are most important — family, good work, creation, friendship, good food. 

Thank you, Arv, for paying attention so well.

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  1. Yours is a very precious gift, Diana. I’m sure there are many who have benefited from the grace and wisdom that flows through you.
    Thank you for teaching me to pay more attention this month. I thought I did, but now I think I’ve been missing much.

  2. So sorry for the loss of such a dear man and friend, Diana. It is obvious that he was an encourager, an observer, and a loyal husband and father. May he rest in peace with Jesus.

  3. Elaine Byer Reed says

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, Diana. But I’m glad that today we in the church family can celebrate the life of the one who has died, rather than only grieving in “sack cloth and ashes” . Some may need to do that too. But a positive appreciation and support by the church family is so helpful for those who are left. One of the members who died recently asked and provided a lei for everyone attending to wear. Every year on All Saints Sunday, we light a candle in remembrance of all who have died that past year.

  4. Margie Bicknell says

    Love and friendship and the memories of a life shared are the only ways to remember friends who have gone home to Jesus. Charlie and I lost a life long friend last Friday. His life was filled with a generosity of spirit, a lover of the stage as an actor, a storyteller with the San Diego Trolley Company, a man of honor with a depreciating sense of humor that will be missed for the rest of our lifetime.
    We will laugh and cry at his memorial, as the stories of his shenanigans will come fast and often. But we will all remember his genuine goodness and love for all of us, and be so glad his pain is gone and that he will tell those same jokes to his Jesus.