Our beloved, Audie went Home with Jesus leading him on tonight around 7:30 p.m., CDST. I have developed a slideshow on my sidebar of the last big family get-together which was hosted by Audie and his gracious wife, Kat, in Trussville, Alabama in December 2007.
Audie was a devout Christian. You could find him every Sunday morning in the vestibule of Trussville Baptist Church handing out the day's programs, and directing visitors to seating and children to the nursery. His son, Joshua, was always by his side, helping him to serve his church family.
Audie and I were 9 months apart in age. His birthday was March 26, and mine January 21. There were several of "us cousins" who grew up together playing outside games of the 1950's like cowboys and Indians, and me, ironically the tomboy, playing one of two fair maidens in need of rescue from the Indians, my sister being the other.
Audie was an extremely sensitive boy and we teased him about not ever wanting to spend the night away from home. We might talk him into it, but not long after my Uncle Carlos and Aunt Mil left, he would begin to cry, "I want my Daddy", and thus, we would call them back to get him. He had a gentle soul, and a kindness that was so calm, always knowing the perfect words to say for any occasion. He always called me, "darlin'" in his southern accent, giving me a big hug.
I moved here in 1980. Audie was now a man, yet still single. He showed up at a family bar-b-que with a petite brunette on his arm, her name was Kathy. Kathy fit right in and we all fell in love with her, as Audie had already given his heart over to her. They married and were married some years before they were able to conceive a child. Audie jokingly called it, "an immaculate conception". With the birth of Joshua, their lives were complete. From that day forward, Audie was a committed husband and father.
Audie and Kathy devoted the entire 25 years of their marriage to raising an extremely intelligent, sensitive and beautiful young man who will graduate from high school the end of May with honors. He was bestowed the honor of a single scholarship, of which there is only one of this named scholarship, which pays full tuition, housing, books, the works, plus a monthly stipend for living expenses. He will continue his education with a double major and has already completed all but two of his freshman core classes. He is a devout Christian, a young man that is exceptional to find in this day and time.
I was uneasy today, and in years past have had a "sixth sense" about death. My grandson had a ballgame, but my mind was far away. I came home alone and I fell to my knees next to my bed. I lifted my hands to the heavens and cried. "His is yours, I know that we cannot keep him. It is time for You to take him back with You. Please Jesus, come and lead him home to meet Your Father." After a time of grief, I gathered myself and felt such peace. This was about 7:30-7:45 p.m.
Tina, Audie's sister, called me around 9:30 and told me that Audie was gone, that he had left us between 7:30 and 8:00 tonight. Naturally, I have shed many tears over mostly my fondest memories of Audie. For the last several years, he, my sister and I have met regularly for lunch. It has always be comfortable, like old times, and the part that is hard to accept is that the three of us vowed to grow old together. We vowed that when the Mamas and Daddys were gone, the three of us would hold the family together. I don't know if we can do it without you, Audie. I will need your prayers and your rallying for me from up above.
If there was anyone that I have known, and I can probably count them on one hand, who I felt without any doubt deserved to be led to heaven by Jesus Christ, accompanied by a choir of angels, directly to meet his Maker, it is Audie. I never, ever heard a harsh word or unkind word slip from his tongue about anyone. He was an exceptional boy, teenager, son, father, husband, and brother. This is a big one. This will be a long time healing. But we will heal, and this shall pass, by the Grace of God, we will work harder in His name to make our own way to heaven, where we will see Audie again.