Written by Brian Hess, AAKP Board Member
If someone other than myself, Brian, is reading this out loud to others, it means I am finally Home! First off, my hope and my best guess is that this letter won’t be read in front of people for many more years to come. It’s 2014 as I write this now. The whole reason I am writing this is because not only have I witnessed too many good friends go Home recently, but in the past week, another like myself went Home early, all because of an evil illness. Yet I’m still here. I contemplate this because I have wanted to go home so many times, but I haven’t. God has always told me, in one way or another, “It’s not time yet.” As a teenager, I begged God to let me die. I bet most people didn’t know that. But He pulled me through; He gave me purpose as an adult and on this day, as l write this, I am so very happy with what He has accomplished in me already! I look forward to the future, which is why I know this letter likely won’t be read for many years.
So why am I writing my own eulogy, for a day that I expect won’t be for some time? It’s simple. To prove a very good point! Many people have wondered if and when I’ll die.
Others thought of me an inspiration because of what I have done despite my hardships. Well, I’ll say this: Yes. My life has been hard, but that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to what I will make happen before I go home.
It certainly doesn’t mean I will die anytime soon. God has shown me that I have a job to do for Him, and until He says I’m done, I’m not going anywhere! Only after God says I’ve done enough, then I will go home.
As the person reading this looks out at the people who have gathered, I bet half of you knew me growing up, and the rest met me sometime even after I wrote this. It’s who I am. I love people. I LOVE TO TALK. “And yes, Brian capitalized that!” Anyone that knew me, knew this about me. So I was short, so I was not the fastest person around, and my physical ability and stature was limited… So what! No one of that stopped me from using the gifts God did give me in doing His Will. Where I’m at on this day, as I write this, I know now that my mind allows me to understand what’s wrong with my health and that of others, but it’s my personality and my life experience that makes me so good at talking to anyone I meet and in most cases, becoming instant friends. It’s my hope and goal between now and when this is read that I am able to do so much more in His name for those less fortunate. I have a lot of plans for the future, and if I’m successful, you’ll already know what some of those were.
Instead, if you must be sad, be sad that you will have to wait a little longer to join me. Even if I died tomorrow, I’d go home knowing that I did what I could while God gave me the chance. While I was alive, I had so many good times! Sure my childhood was hard, but what came next was amazing! I had a screensaver on my computer when I wrote this. I mention it because I created it right after my mentor and doctor, James Wenzl, went home. In it, there are many pics of him and me, showing how close he and I had become.
Following those are multiple different pies of things I loved to do. I got to go to the lake when I thought I’d never had that option when I first started dialysis. I got to go to OU football games and tailgates many, many times! I have so many memories of being out with my best friends Brad and Joey. I once rode in a charity bike ride for over 22 miles in three hours. I even got to travel to Denver, Tampa, Little Rock, Atlanta, and Las Vegas all for trips with the American Association of Kidney Patients, where I was a speaker at all but one of those. I was able to go to D.C. at least twice thus far to speak on the Hill with congressmen. I was even on the Board of Directors with AAKP making a difference. I wrote a book, spoke in front of large crowds, and did so many more things I never would’ve thought I would ever do. I even graduated college, with two degrees, one of the hardest things I did but knew I would accomplish no matter what! My point is, I had a full life!
Much better than probably anyone would’ve expected for me. Outlook on this day as I write this is, “I’m ready to go home, but until You tell me to come, God, I’m ready to work. What’s next?!” So everyone here, be happy for me! Let this day be one where you are glad for me and the life I was able to have before getting my greatest reward.
Finally, to those of you that have yet to join me at Home, I challenge you to do at least one thing with your life for someone like me. It can be as simple as being involved personally or financially with an organization like AAKP Or maybe even get tested and see if you match anyone for a kidney. There will never be enough organ donors, and God has blessed all of us with two; if yours are healthy, find someone like me who can use one of them. There are so many things a person can do to help those like myself. Now that I’m not on Earth to do these things myself, it’s my lasting wish that others will carry on for me. When Dr. Wenzl passed, that’s exactly how I felt. His work was done, and it was now my tum to take the reins. I have done my best over the course of my life to do just that. Now, I pass that baton off to whoever will take it next.
And so as Steven Curtis Chapman said in one of his songs that I love for moments like these, “I’ll see you in a little while.”