Friday, December 16, 2016

An Abbynormal Goodbye

Goodbyes are hard to say. Not getting to say goodbye is even harder...
Werner's 75th Birthday Hike

For the last month or two I have felt the need to write to an old friend of mine to thank him for being so kind to me and my kids and he needed to know about the love of Jesus. He needed to know! I had felt it in my knower, you know what I mean. I had put it off, I knew he had vision issues and I had been concerned that he would not be able to read my email or letter. But, I just found that I had his number and I didn’t remember that I had his number until it was to late. I laid in bed last night and cried because I missed an opportunity to tell him how much I appreciated all he had done for us. I know so little about him and his life because I was so busy with my own…

A gift from Werner
I first noticed him back when I was a junior in high school. It was the first big race of the season, the UNLV Cross Country Invitational. He was standing by the entrance to the track near where the race ended. I remember him standing there as I ran past, he wore a funny little hat like the one Gilligan wore on Gilligan’s Island. He spoke encouragement to me with his strange accent. (later I found out that he was Werner Hellmuth from Germany) He said with his fist tight…you can do it…you can do it…and I did, I won by 3-4 seconds. I went on to be undefeated that season and set 11 course records and I remember Werner being at a most of my races. Cheering for me! I saw him at the track club races on Saturdays also. He was always there…in his hat… cheering for me with that German accent.

Then life happened. I grew up, married and had kids, lots of kids, five. I trained off and on between kids but nothing serious. Then in my late 30’s I started training hard again. I sign up for a Mountain trail race and when I climbed inside the shuttle bus I saw an old man in a Gilligan hat sitting there. It was Werner, still running, looking the same as I had remembered him 20 years ago! We talked and I told him that one of my daughters was in high school cross country. He started coming to her races and cheering her on…

Taking photos of flowers.
On Aug. 17, 2001 I got the privilege to join Werner, along with two other ladies, Ernie and Liz on a 20 mile round trip hike to the top of Mount Charleston Peak, 11,916 feet, the highest mountain in the Spring Mountains in NV, to celebrate his 70th birthday! At the top we surprised him with a cupcake that we lit up with a candle. I remember we all signed the Peak journal with regards to Werner’s 70th birthday.

 For his 75th birthday we hike up the Bristlecone trail. He was getting slower, older…

I never learned much about Werner, he was from Germany and went back to visit friends and family often and would send me a postcard. He was never married, he said no woman ever wanted him. That seemed sad to me. Yet he was such a blessing to me and my family.
A Birthday Gift for Natasha from Werner.

 Later as a single mom he took my daughter to the Doctor when I didn’t have insurance and he even gave her his car when she was in college when her old one died. He became like a grandpa and we had him over for dinner and some holidays. When my son started running he even went to a couple of his races.
But, I was busy, too busy with life, work, and survival. Chronic running injuries forced my retirement from running and track club events, kids moved out or left for college. Then I moved out of state.

Postcards from Germany
We stayed in touch through emails and snail mail, mostly just stuff about how the kids are doing. Although as his eyes got bad even those got far between. I have had this urge to write him for a while. I put if off, it was on my check list, then moved to the next check list, then moved again. The Holy Spirit had laid it on my heart to let Werner know about how much Jesus loved him….and how thankful I was for all he did for me and my family….I knew in my knower that I needed to tell him….God knew what Werner was going through and the Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention. Werner knew I was a Christian. But, I had been to busy to ask him what he believed. Always afraid of offending… I understand different now. I know I may be the only believer that some may meet, I have to tell them of God’s love, forgiveness and of Jesus. I have to… even if they reject me!
This hurts, really bad!  Crying…I am sorry, Werner, for that last letter or call from me that you didn’t get. Maybe you would still be here... I am sorry God, that I didn’t recognize your promptings to write and tell him sooner…I was suppose to be there for him.
We have to slow down and remember that people are what really matters, not our stuff or our busy schedule. This life here is short, make that call, write that letter, tell that person how much they have blessed you before it is to late. Eternity is along time to be separated from the ones you love and care about.
RIP...Werner Hellmuth Aug. 17, 1931- Dec. 14, 2016.

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