May 19, 2008


By Rene Allen

Today’s blog will be short. It’s 9 pm and I just returned from Mesa and my brother-in-law’s funeral. Norris was 77. He had cerebral palsy and for the last 15 years of his life was confined to a wheelchair. He became increasingly hard of hearing. As his ability to move and participate in normal social activities decreased, so did the size of his world. For the last decade he lived in an assisted care facility in Mesa.

There were no tears at this farewell. Rather, as his brothers talked about Norris’s life and accomplishments, there was a sense that at last his compelling mind and spirit would be free of the limitations of his body.

There was some pain at the end. He had fallen from his wheelchair, injured his lower leg and developed an arterial clot below the knee. Because of other problems, he had only two choices: amputation or do nothing, in which case he would die. “I’ve lived long enough,” he said, and five days later passed away.

Norris had no use for money. His immediate needs were taken care of where he lived. When Dwight and I cleaned out his apartment, we didn’t find any pennies behind the couch or at the cluttered far end of his desk drawer. There was no money. Norris had money. Money paid for his room and board. But he had no use for it other than that. Can you imagine, not needing money?

The great lesson of his life was patience. He had to wait 77 years and suffer the kind of limitations most of us don’t even consider before he was finally free.

No, there were no tears at his funeral, only a sense of joy at a shared vision of this dear man walking into heaven.


  1. What a privilege it must have been to know Norris! I can't imagine the homecoming he received. Just be able to run and dance and think without limitations after all those years....although, I wonder if once we pass through the veil, will it feel like we were here that long? Thanks for sharing such a tender moment, Rene.

  2. Thank you for the lovely tribute to Norris.

  3. That kind of tribute shows a life well lived.

  4. Wonderful post and a very sweet tribute.


Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment on our blogger's posts.*

*We do not allow commercial links, however. If that's not clear, we mean "don't spam us with a link to your totally unrelated-to-writing site." We delete those comments.