Friends, it is with a heavy heart that I compose this message today. The passing of one of my close friends is another great loss for myself, the grieving family, and a large part of our community. Johnny Wisnoski passed away just a few days ago and the emptiness felt by those of you who knew him is a heavy weight indeed. His funeral service was packed with hundreds of family members and friends and the eulogy was flawless. His brother shared some of the stories and adventures they had experienced through the years, and it was as if we were right there with them when it happened. After it was over, everyone stayed in front of the church for a long while, as if to somehow remain connected to Johnny. Not willing to leave and be apart from him. It was a heavy, palatable moment, but I had to keep reminding myself about the passage in Ecclesiastes that talks about how there is a season for everything. God’s timing is not our timing and we have to have faith in Him, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard, actually.
My thing about all of this is that it all happened so quickly. I believe it was only about 3 months ago when he was diagnosed with cancer. Even his doctors were astonished at how fast it was growing and spreading in his body. I thought about calling him about a dozen times, but I never knew what to say. Fortunately, I was able to drop by his home and visit with him personally for a good while one evening. In an effort to lift his spirits I told him that he and I need to make plans for our shared birthday coming up. That was one of the really neat things that we shared. That and the fact that somehow at his deer camp several years ago I was mistaken for Johnny’s brother-in-law. After that we called each other “brother-in-law” every time we met. I really enjoyed that.
Johnny was the type of person that if he was not your friend it was because you had not met him yet. He could make friends with strangers like it was nothing and keep up with friends and family like it was everything. Friendly, charismatic, caring, loyal – the list of ways to describe him goes on and on. Besides being one of the best persons I have ever known, he was an avid baseball fan (GO ASTROS!), a great cook, a hunter, a fisherman, a loving father, a new grandfather and an expert gardener. I can’t even count how many of his watermelons I have enjoyed over the years, but they were always amazingly delicious. If you needed help with something, he would be there. If there was a need, he would fill it. It’s that amiable, selfless service that I will miss most of all.
I don’t know why people are taken out of our lives like they are. So suddenly that it leaves a permanent mark on our souls. Each passing of a loved one eases with time, but at the onset there’s just the pain and sadness with the slightest glimmer of hope. My heart and prayers go out to Johnny’s family - especially Haven, Kameron, and Kaleb. It’s okay to miss him a lot. I know I do.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.