Goodbye, My Friend. Remembering and Celebrating the Life of Colin Burritt.
To follow up my last entry about my friend Colin’s terminal battle with cancer, here is a cut and pasted obituary:
“Colin’s brief but impactful life was cut short after a courageous battle with cancer (Burkitt’s Lymphoma). Colin went to be with Jesus on July 5, 2010 at the age of 29 years. Colin was a loving and patient husband and father who was anxious to begin his Policing career. Colin leaves to cherish his memory his faithful and devoted wife Melissa, their two little boys, Corban (age 4) and Keegan (age 2). He is also survived by his parents, Neil and Darlene Burritt; his brothers, Brad (Taegen) and Kris (Jennie); one sister, Nicole (Simon) Cripps; his parents-in-law, Glen and Sue Motz, and a brother-in-law Andrew (Natalie) Motz, as well as grandparents and numerous nieces and nephews. Colin will be dearly missed by family and his many friends whose lives he touched along the way.”
I was honoured to have attended the celebration of his life on Friday, July 9 at Hillcrest Evangelical Missionary Church in Medicine Hat, Alberta. At Missy’s (and Colin’s) request to all in attendance, I wore no black, but as bright of nice looking and appropriate attire that I had. It was no “Dumb & Dumber” tux, but khakis with a shirt and tie never hurt anyone. It was to be a celebration, not to be a gloomy occasion. I believe this event accomplished this goal better than any I’ve seen before it.
As a fresh Medicine Hat City Police graduate, Colin had what seemed to be the entire police force in attendance; and deservingly so. As surreal as his whole battle had been, it brought reality to my perspective very quickly to see him lying in uniform in his casket. My friend was really, actually gone from this life. Some outstanding and incredibly brave speaking by the church’s pastor, a police staff member, Colin’s father –in-law, and finally Missy herself, was given. I was honoured to have been quoted in Missy’s dad’s speech, regarding some final thoughts and memories I wrote to Colin before he passed, and that he had been able to read himself. As Colin exited the sanctuary via the police force pallbearers, the finality of it all set in completely, and my emotions got the best of me. I cried. I was lucky that my friend Mike Wall and his wife, who I sat with, had extra tissues. As happy as the occasion was to be (and it was), it wasn’t possible to not be sad, at least for a few moments. I know I’ll see him again in heaven, but really knowing that I’d no longer see him again in this life was certainly worth the tears.
The “fun” part was the reception afterwards at the church. It was fun because it was designed to be. I got to reunite with 9 or 10 Briercrest hockey ex-teammates and staff members over a BBQ Beef and coleslaw luncheon; and we all had plenty of Burritt memories and stories to recall, reflect on, and to smile and laugh about. They came from all over: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the US, and other places. There was no shortage of people that Colin’s life had impacted, and we all did our best to show our gratitude of that by being there for him and his family in that time. Many others wanted to be there, but couldn’t due to extenuating circumstances. All in all, I know Colin would’ve been happy with it.
If you are willing and able, please consider supporting Colin’s wife and children financially through this difficult time. Donations in honour of Colin’s memory can be made to their children’s education fund that is set up at all T.D. Canada Trust banks in Medicine Hat (and anywhere in Canada, I was told) – inquire on an account set up for Melissa Burritt; or you may direct your donations to A.J.’s Loan Cupboard c/o Box 45006, McKenzie Outlet, Medicine Hat, Alberta T1A 0B1; or the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society #102 Crestwood Square One, 1865 Dunmore Road SE, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 1Z8. To e-mail an expression of sympathy, please direct it to: email@example.com , subject heading: Colin Burritt, or you may visit http://www.gonebutnotforgotten.ca or http://go-team-burritt.blogspot.com and leave a message of condolence. If you’re a praying person, I’m sure they would appreciate your ongoing prayer as well!
Thanks for reading, praying, your comments and support through this tough time.
1 Peter 1:3-9; “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”