Oh where do I begin...

Shared by Judy Gooch on June 2, 2016

I believe I will start at the beginning.  When Eddie came into Susan's life I was instantly a fan.  He was always kind, respectful and loving.  I knew he was the 'one' and hoped Susan did too.  They were young and starting their life together and it was beautiful to watch.  As I sit here this morning I am thinking about what brought us so close to each other.  Was it delivering Bassett Hound puppies int he middle of the night?  Was it taking Zachary in the middle of the night because they did not know what else to do with a colicy baby.  I would walk and rock Zachary while Mom and Dad got some sleep.  As time went on Kade was welcomed into this precious family and I was so proud for them.  I always thought of Eddie as an 'old soul' and looked up to the man, husband and father he was.  I place Eddie on my perfect husband, father and man of God list.  I must say that list is very short.  When the boys were young they would sometimes stay with me while Mom and Dad had a night out or sometimes on their tight budget a night in.  Mostly Susan would call and ask if I could take the boys for the night but sometimes Eddie would make that call saying he wanted to surprise Susan.  I was always available no matter what.  Over these last 10 months I have watch God's hand in the lives of this precious family.  I don't know that anyone else could have faced this horrid disease with the faith and grace these four have shown.  I know this strength comes only from God and their walk with him.  I know not to ask 'why' but I can't resist the desire to do so.  I know this is His plan.  I know He will continue to hold Susan, Zachary, Kade and all the other loved ones in his warm embrace.  I know there will be days ahead that are dark and that is a part of the process.  Everyone greives in their own way and that is within God's plan.  Dear Susan, hold each other tight and know so many people are continuing to lift you up in prayer and that will never stop.  I will for the rest of my life carry Eddie in my heart.  I Love You ALL So Dearly.       

A Kindness Reflex

Shared by Ryan Vitter on May 28, 2016

I remember years ago Uncle Eddie, Aunt Susan, Zach, and Kade came and visted us in Virginia. While Eddie was here he replaced the locks on our house and I'm sure he pulled weeds and did anything else he saw that he could help fix, because these kinds of things that others might consider chores or work were just a reflex to him. Over these past couple of months I've read and heard countless stories of the nice things Eddie has done for people without even needing to be asked, like hanging a bike up in a family owned coffee shop or doing yard work for a family friend. He did all these wonderful things not only because he was a kind person, but because he was a doer. There was always something that needed to be done or someone that needed help, and it was usually Eddie doing it.
Several weeks ago I was talking to Eddie on the phone and I remember him seeming frustrated at not being able to do a lot of things. He said that he had been spending a lot of time just sitting and thinking about things and how this was an odd change for him. I bet he spent all that time thinking about his friends and family, and all the things he wish he could have been doing instead of sitting and thinking. He had this extremely rare trait of having kindness as a reflex. I'm not sure if this is something that is innate or can be learned, but it's a trait that everyone should strive towards and it's something that I'll aim for. 

A Long Overdue Family Vacation

Shared by Ryan Vitter on May 28, 2016

In 2014 the Vitter and the McMahan clans finally went on a long overdue family vacation to the Outer Banks. One of my favorite memories of the trip was when we all took out the kayaks and paddleboards and paddled our way a mile or 2 towards a nearby lighthouse. This is a picture of Uncle Eddie and Aunt Susan in their two-person kayak, I'm sure Eddie was doing all the rowing while Aunt Susan pretended to row and worked on her tan. 

Worn and Loved

Shared by Alex Vitter on May 27, 2016

In my closet, tucked beside plastic trophies and photo albums are two shirts. These shirts were a gift from Eddie. Worn fabric splitting at the seams. Screen printed band logos chipping off like bark. Tour dates on the back that made me feel like I was holding history. I guess we kids would call this vintage. What stood out the most to me when he gave me these shirts, besides how old they were, was the condition. It wasn’t just that they were worn. Any fabric will be worn over time. It is that they were loved. These were shirts that you could tell had holes in the pits and Eddie wore them any ways, I’m sure much to the disgust of Grammy or Susan, because he loved those shirts. They had emotional value to him. 

When I flew to Texas, after Eddie’s diagnosis, a party was thrown in Eddie’s honor. I was surprised to see just how many people showed up to this party, and from so many walks of life. I walked around sipping coffee and silently eavesdropped on people’s different conversations about Eddie. Of course, there were the conversations you would expect. People wondering about his condition, and people commenting on how worn he looked. And he did look worn. He looked tired. But that isn’t the majority of what I heard. Mostly people just talked about how much they love Eddie. It seemed every person in that coffee shop at some point had been in a pinch and Eddie had been there to help. I even heard after his diagnosis and the draining treatment he had been through, he still managed to hang a light fixture and pull some weeds for someone. By the end of the night, my mind was on his shirts sitting in my closet, and also on my own shirts that I’m sure my own mom is disgusted by.  I’m hoping they can be just as loved.

Inspiring Me to Be Better

Shared by David Vitter on May 27, 2016

Eddie has always been the most caring and kindest person I know and every visit with his family reminds me to be less selfish and to look for ways to be kind to my fellow man.

A year ago my wife, Stephanie (Eddie’s sister) and I were in Lubbock to attend Kade's High School graduation. Lubbock was partially under water due endless rain storms that month, but during the afternoon of graduation the sun came out and we didn't need a canoe to get to the ceremony. Afterwards we had a terrific family dinner and then headed to the car to drive back to the house. That's when the skies opened up with such power that I was very nervous the whole ride back and for me, we couldn't get to the safety of Eddie's house fast enough as the water was rising around us.

Driving carefully down the Marsha Sharp Expressway, up ahead through the wall of rain we all see a car on the side of the highway with his flashers on and as we pass slowly we can see the driver is outside changing his right-rear tire. I'm embarrassed to say that while I really felt bad for this stranger, it made me want to get to the safety of home even more.

But not Eddie. With a van fully of family members and a graduation party waiting back at the house, Eddie wanted to go back and help, and at the next exit he pulled off the highway, took the turn around and headed right back to see if there was anything he could do for this stranger. To my relief, as we got back around to where the car had been, the stranded stranger had finished and moved on, but I could not stop thinking about how amazing Eddie was and I replay that night often in my head to try and remember to try and live up to his example. 

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