One calendar year ago, my family experienced a great loss. Art Hoekstra; a hero, father, grandpa, husband, brother, activist and friend transitioned from this life to a life of eternal security. On this, the first anniversary of his death; the dark cloud of loss still looms over our family. As many of you have experienced, death is darn difficult; period. There’s no way or reason to tip-toe around the reality. Death still stings.
As does life.
Art’s life, like all of ours to some extent was one of great struggle. Art spent his time on this earth attempting to find his place in this world, and when he did, he encountered both triumph and tragedy. The work he chose was to fight for the down-trodden. The disenfranchisement of the poor, the needy, the children and the oppressed consumed his “why” for living. Having worked for many of the same people and values, I quickly began to understand that there are days that life doesn’t make much sense. We get tired. We get discouraged. We’d rather quit. I am certain that as Art faced the biggest fight of his life, a war with Subungual Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (aka ‘Nail Cancer’), the will to fight began to decrease. However, the will to make whatever life he had left MEAN SOMETHING was stronger than cancer itself. This will was on display until the last day.
You and I face life’s challenges with various levels of strength and endurance. Relationships, finances, sickness, anxiety…you name it; we face it. What I learned from Art surely cannot be expressed in its fulness by a blog post, but what I can say from the script that IS the life of Art Hoekstra…Whether you are living and feel like living or whether you’re living and feel like dying…MAKE IT COUNT!
At the end, no one really knows what you were feeling or thinking. What they know is what counted. Faith, hope, love, charity and will. In honor of my father in-law and friend, I hope to make it count. No matter how tough life is, no matter what others do…I’ll live like it HAS to count for something.
Rest In Peace, my friend…It Counted.
Love, Peace and Blessings,