I've just learned that Wayne Davis passed away at about 2:15 this afternoon. Wayne has been battling with Lou Gehrig's disease for the better part of probably 5 years, though he's only known about it for the last couple of years. He went into a coma last night, and died peacefully this afternoon. This picture is from our going away banquet at the Rose Bud Church of Christ in May of 2007 (there was a Hawaiian theme, if you couldn't tell).
Around March of last year, Wayne and I had a talk, and he let me know that he wanted me to perform his funeral. He was very open about the fact that his condition was terminal, and I've never seen someone face a horrible disease with any more courage than Wayne has.
The last time I spoke to him was about 3 weeks ago. As always, he was cheerful and encouraging. He never passed up an opportunity to let Carolina and me know that he loves us and is proud of us.
He was the quintessential cowboy. He loved horses and the outdoors. He was very indepenent, and I know he was so frustrated as his body had declined and he was no longer able to do most things for himself. For Carolina and I, he and his wife Ruby became our grandparents while we were in Arkansas with no family around. We love them like family. I've had a long time to get used to the idea that Wayne was going to leave us, and even now that I'm living so far away from them, this is still a tough loss. It won't be the same without him around.
He wanted very much for the other people at church to see what it means to face a terminal disease while standing firm on the hope and peace that can only come from God. I'll miss his good nature, his encouragement, and his constant chuckling...he managed to find something joyful in every situation.
For the rest of my life, part of my motivation to stay faithful to God is that I want to see my dear friend and brother Wayne again.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. We'll miss you so much.