I never met Emmanuel. I met his father, an older gentleman who deserves that term more than most. He had Thanksgiving with us last year. He held his hands behind his back as a sign of respect to my grandma. He answers questions with a smile on his face and respect in his voice. He had to move back to New York this year to take care of their restaurant. They have another one in Ghana, he’s nobility there. I think he can’t help but be noble wherever he happens to be.
I met his mother this spring. She came out to take his father’s place when he moved back to New York. She spoke with life and emotion. She is a strong woman, she cares deeply for people, she hopes. She spends her nights at the hospital with him. She speaks of him.
My dad speaks of him too. Always from a heart of respect, a feeling of gratitude toward this man.
I feel gratitude too. I thank him for his faith. I thank him for his humble and joyful spirit. I thank God for his grace and strength. He cannot be perfect, but I cannot imagine the strength of his love for God.
Emmanuel is going to be taken off of life support tomorrow. Nine years of valley fever, of living in a hospital. It spread from his spine to his brain. His family is with him now, well, not his wife and kids. She left with them soon after the fever hit. His mother, father, and two sisters, one from London are there now to be with him. Probably to say goodbye.
I never met him. I never did, and yet I feel connected to his faith and joy. They’ve given me hope, blessed me to know that a man such as he is part of my family. I feel sorrow for them, but I am glad that Emmanuel will be with our God. And God with us, Emmanuel.