Sunday, August 9, 2015
It’s been 21 years since Anthony David Barlow left this earth. To everyone who knew and loved him, he was Tony.
Tony was the son of Sam and Bev. The brother of Amanda. He was the cousin of me and my sister Keri and my brother David. He was the cousin of Teddy and Matthew and Austin. He was the nephew of Lorna. He was the nephew of Chris and David and Drew. He was the grandson of Marie, of Russell and Carrie.
Growing up, Tony and Amanda were more like a brother and a sister because we spent so much time over at their house. When we were younger, we played together, laughed together, sang and danced together, and we fought like cats and dogs. We drove each other crazy, as kids often do to each other.
The problem is, I can see now, that we took that time for granted. At least, I know that I did.
At that time in my life, I had no idea how short life could be. Every day seemed like it would stretch on and on. I never dreamed that there would be a day when I would live in a world where someone who meant so very much to me would not be here anymore…
Tony’s life on this earth was short, but so meaningful. As he got older, he babysat for two kids who lived down the street from where they lived. He volunteered at a local hospital… the same one that I was working at. He was a member of the Hononegah High School band. He was a member of the Phantom Regiment, a local Drum and Bugle Corp. In just the short time that he was on this earth, I know that Tony touched the lives of so many. What I’m describing doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface… The love that was embodied in the person of Anthony David Barlow was, and is, a rare gift.
I often wonder why his life was cut so short. I know the rudimentary facts… A drunk driver took the life of a young man, a beautiful, loving, young man, who was just on the verge of beginning a new life for himself. And because of one person’s wrong choice, another life was taken. A life that had so much potential…
I believe that Tony’s life was NOT in vain. I believe that he changed people, not only while he was alive, but also, and maybe especially, in his death.
His organs were donated to people who needed them to continue to live. I don’t know where those people are today… I can only hope that every time they take a breath that they are reminded that the only reason they are alive is because of the gift his parents gave when they decided to donate Tony’s organs.
And, I, for one, have realized the value of appreciating the ones that we love while they are here with us. Just because someone is born does not mean that they will have a long and fulfilling life. I have realized that we should NEVER take for granted the ones that we love! They, nor we, are promised any certain number or length of days. We are given the time we are given… And we are to take the days we are given and to make the most of them.
I also believe that I will see Tony in Heaven one day. I remember my mom praying with me, with my sister and brother, with Tony and Amanda, on New Year’s Eve in 1984… That we would all accept the forgiveness of sin that Jesus provided for us when He died on the cross. I don’t doubt for a second that Tony received the gift of eternal life because of his willingness to believe that God sent His only Son to die on the Cross for our sins. And that is the hope that I truly take away from Tony’s passing from this earth.
The truth is that this world is temporary. We may see our lives as the beginning and the end. On this earth, we will all have a beginning and an end. But life, the life that we were created for, does not have an end. The passing from this life only constitutes the beginning of our lives in eternity… And it makes me smile to think that Tony is already there, waiting for the rest of us who love him so dearly, to come home…. Posted by