On the morning of January 19th, my friend Anthony’s heart stopped after a long fight with a rare liver disease, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.
To honor his memory I must first share about his wife, Kelly. The evening of his passing she shared a picture of him on her Facebook wall and wrote:
“I loved this man. He loved me. Words cannot express how deeply painful it is to lose your best friend, lover, confidant, ally, and spiritual covering all in the same moment. The pain is so deep that only the Father can reach it.”
That last line.
I met Kelly at a bar. We were in Itaewon, a place well known to expats in Seoul, and it was Sunday afternoon. Sitting next to each other in mismatch chairs we introduced ourselves, finding out that this was our first time coming to this church. I was pretty giddy, I had never been to a church service in a bar before. A bar in the middle of an area well versed in other extra curricular activities. People walked in thinking the bar was opened early and quickly became confused when they saw a small band in the front of the room leading everyone in praise songs.
That was in September, 2010 and I have been friends with Kelly ever since. I still attend that church too (though we meet in a more sanctuary type room now). In the summer of 2011 Kelly flew back to Canada to marry her long time sweetheart, Anthony. He agreed to move to Korea and they lived here until February, 2015.
Five years of marriage seems too small to fit everything that Anthony and Kelly experienced together. Anthony saw Kelly through her worst. Kelly saw Anthony through his worst. They edified and built each other up. The amount of grace and forgiveness they had for each other surpasses that of normal people. They weren’t afraid to call upon and expect the best from each other. Even when they failed each other they never gave up on their friendship, their love, their marriage. Their relationship continues to inspire me. They looked at the example Jesus gave when he walked the earth, and they truly tried their best to live it out.
Memories of Anthony are popping up all over my newsfeed. His gift for singing gospel music and the way he praised God is mentioned the most. He had an amazing and resounding voice. He dressed to impress and was the one in the congregation who wasn’t afraid to call out during the sermon when he liked something the preacher said. I remember Kelly always talking about how much he cooked and cleaned for her. What a guy! I have been thinking about what it is that blessed me the most about Anthony and it is all of the above mention things without a doubt.
But— Anthony, I will miss your hugs the most.
If you are able to support Kelly during this time, please consider donating.