I truly believe the saddest days on earth are some of the happiest days in Heaven. The celebration that awaits us when we finally go Home is something I have always imagined to be simply amazing. I don’t know if the celebration is any bigger for some than others, but if that is the case then let me tell you, Heaven is a hopping place right now welcoming in it’s newest angel, Mr. Tim Ballance. Mr. Tim is my sweet Tar Heel’s step-father and an incredible man.
We only had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Tim for a brief period of time, but in that time he has managed to make a lasting impression on each of us in a profound way. His strength, courage and incredible compassion and wonderful sense of humor is what we will all remember about him. I remember last January, just a couple of months before our wedding, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride down to Savannah from NC with Mr. Tim and Mrs. Kay (the Tar Heel’s mother). It was their first trip down to Savannah to visit our house and the city, and that trip will always be one of my happiest memories.
Mr. Tim and Mrs. Kay made me listen to 70s on 7 the entire five hour trip which actually took around 6.5 hours because Mr. Tim didn’t really like to drive over 60mph on the interstate :) Once we (finally) got to Savannah, the Tar Heel wore a sweater vest in honor of Mr. Tim. Mr. Tim was known for his love of sweater vests so the Tar Heel thought it would be “cute” if he wore one too. We toured the Tar Heel’s school buildings at SCAD, and I was most excited for showing off our house to Mr. Tim and Mrs. Kay (even though I wasn’t technically a resident there until two months later). We ate at our favorite restaurants in town like Soho Cafe and The Shrimp Factory.
The best part of the entire trip occurred entirely by happenstance. The Tar Heel was driving us around Savannah since he was the most familiar with the area at that point, and for some reason I was reprimanding him on his driving and getting a little worked up. He pulled the car over and looked at me and made a funny hand gesture and said mostly playful and partially serious, “Take it eeeasssy.” After about 5 seconds of complete silence, Mr. Tim ERUPTED in laughter which created the most hilarious domino effect you can imagine. Mrs. Kay started cracking up at him laughing so hard, and soon Dustin and I joined in. SO there we were, on the side of the road, packed into one car and laughing so hard we all had tears in our eyes. It was so spontaneous, perfectly imperfect, and hardly recognizable for the gift that it truly was. The best things in life often turn out that way.
Even when you expect it, you think you can prepare yourself for this feeling, but you can’t. Living in Savannah, the Tar Heel and I have been distant from facing the pain and reality of the situation. I think we kept thinking we would come home to visit and things would be back to normal. But I knew last weekend when I went to see Mr. Tim in the hospital that things could never be that way again. I also knew at that time that we would be selfish to want Mr. Tim to stay with us down here when he was suffering so badly. He is so, so much better off in Heaven with our Lord and all the angels. But it doesn’t make things any easier on those of us he had to leave behind. We love you, Mr. Tim and can’t wait to see you again. Keep a good eye on us until then.
All my love,