The Struggle Has Ended

Greg Hewlett passed away on January 17th after nearly eight years of battling colon cancer. While we grieve his loss, we are comforted to know that he is with his Lord.

If you would like to leave your thoughts on Greg, please see this thread.

If you would like to make a charitable donation in Greg's honor, please see this thread.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thoughts on Greg

Please feel free to share your thoughts on Greg's life, and his impact on your life, in the comments section of this post. We will gather them and make them available to the family later this week.


Kathie said...

Greg fought the good fight,finished the race, and kept the faith. This good and faithful servant has entered the joy of his Master. Heaven is richer, and my life - and the lives of so many - is rich for having known him.

DavidR said...

I miss Greg. Years ago when Greg was considering going to seminary I observed to him that I saw a pastor in him. Greg was one of the most pastoring, shepherding, men I have ever been in contact with. In my fallenness I frequently doubted God's wisdom in not allowing Greg to complete that vision... of formally becoming a pastor. But in a real sense he was a pastor. Another friend observed that perhaps not having the normal trappings, responsibilities, conflicts of professional pastorship Greg was able to shepherd the way he did... the way we needed. Greg had a tremendous impact on me during a period of years that was easily the most difficult and tumultuous of my life... while at the same time fighting his cancer (not to mention experiencing the same events I was going through). God be praised for he did through Greg.

John Churchill said...

Greg and I first met in the early '80s when we joined the same Scout troop. Almost immediately, I recognized a few of the traits that I most admire in people: intelligence and a caring, helpful spirit.

As we entered junior high and high school together, and Greg was embroiled in his first bout with cancer, I saw yet more traits emerge: strength amidst adversity, and the ability to find the humor in almost anything.

In Scouts, we always used to tease each other on long hikes -- regardless of the actual distance to camp -- that our destination was always "9 more miles." I wish I had 9 more miles to give Greg, but I know he's home now and free from the pain and fear he experienced in life. You've earned your rest, Greg.

Judy Dominick said...

Greg had one of the gentlest souls of anyone I've ever met; yet he was equally unmatched in the areas of perseverance and hard-fought determination. His ability to find and create humor in even the darkest moments consistently surprised me. He seemed to have an endless wellspring from which he created silly songs, made witty remarks, and came up with amusing perspectives. He could analyze cancer and cancer treatment from more angles and in more dimensions than any of the thousands of patients I took care of in almost 8 years at M.D. Anderson. Seriously! I would shake my head and say to him, "You're such an engineer." I'm glad we shared the Rice connection, even though we weren't there at the same time. It's a special fellowship of people. I feel privileged to have been part of his clinical care too. His courage was inspiring. But most of all, I'm grateful that we shared (and do share) the deep joy and assurance of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. I miss him. I miss knowing that he's on this earth doing what he does and being who he is. But we don't weep without hope. Greg, I'm so glad you're whole now and in the presence of Christ. Those of us left behind say "good-bye" now and feel the incredible sadness of separation, but as Phil Keaggy sang, "Heaven is a long hello," and I look forward to that.

Sarah G. said...

I never met Greg, and he did not know me as I never commented on his blog. I found his site through a brother of a friend.

I was always encouraged to read how Greg faced his illness in such a realistic way, yet that realism was saturated and tempered with his unwavering faith.

I found his blog at about the same time I was diagnosed with a chronic, incurable illness. On the days when I would be particularly melancholy about God's choice for my life, there would almost always be an update from Greg.

It would give me reason to pause and pray for him & his family, and to forget that I am "sick." I have never struggled as mightily as Greg had to these past years. He was called to the office of a true suffering servant, and he suffered faithfully and boldly.

I was shocked to receive the update this morning that he has gone to be with the Lord, but there is comfort knowing that he is now at peace, full of energy and vigor to worship his Lord. He will stand again here on the earth, with a body untouched by disease and pain, and will forever be vibrant and full of praise.

Jamison said...

"Some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice, but still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty now that they're gone."

--This is from the movie The Shawshank Redemption...Andrew quoted it to me as we were talking about Greg, and I thought I would share it on his behalf.

Greg is FREE, whole, and with our Lord in heaven--how wonderful for him; how we look forward longingly to seeing him again.

Come Lord Jesus.

Vince corvino said...

We met Greg and Christine when they showed up at Gwynedd Valley OPC. And a friendship began and then long distance when they returned to Texas.
We keep in touch through this blog and when in Philly we caught up mostly over food. Now we will meet again at the best meal coming, the marriage feast in heaven.

Mark Maxham said...

Greg and I were suitemates at Rice, and occasional carpoolmates going back and forth to Richardson (I went to Pearce).

I can't think of enough nice things to say about Greg. I hold him in enormous esteem. I've never known someone who so thoroughly lived what he believed.

I work at a biotech company, and our product will be one of the tools that researchers use to cure cancer. Greg was the guy that I thought of when I came to work on the hard days, the days when I wanted to quit or go home.

I want to tell you a dozen funny stories about Greg ... at some point I will ...

Unknown said...

I can "ditto" what everyone else has already said -- but here's some more . . .

A quote from Colin Firth in today's WSJ about "The King's Speech" reminded me of Greg:

"There's something very striking about seeing someone summon enormous courage to do what the rest of us do everyday and take for granted," Mr. Firth said. "The film is not a study of disability, but rather of how someone negotiates a disability. You discover a person or a character by how they handle obstacles. Do they fight or flee? Are they cool-headed or hysterical? Violent? Dignified? Seeing how people manage things, this is what drama is made of."

I met Greg in 2006, so I didn't know him before his latest bout of cancer. He inspired me with his courage, patience, peace, humor, lack of self-pity, trust in God, humility -- I could go on -- in the face of a challenge beyond anything I can imagine.

When I first met him, I was a little intimidated by his intelligence and theological acumen. But when I went through a crisis he was one of the people who encouraged me most, because he understood suffering and could be there with me in it (i.e. without having to fix it or run from it). That is a rare quality and a great gift.

All of that and he was such fun, too. I have wonderful memories of him and my husband Michael playing the guitar together, and of him and my son having conversations, and watching baseball together, and talking about books and theology and whatever else.

Michael and I have been talking about how we can be more like Greg . . . he never said "Imitate me" the way Paul did . . . but I can certainly learn a lot from him still about how to trust God more.

Jenny Ruppel said...

Although we never met, I have taken great comfort from Greg's story, his fight and his willingness to share his story and struggles. His is the only blog I have ever followed. It has been a source of strength, a reminder of faith and an example of courage. I pray for his family knowing that Light perpetual will be upon him. Jenny Ruppel. Lenore, Idaho

Bing Ouyang said...

I am sadden to learn Greg's leave. It was a privilege to know him. He always has such high spirits. I will miss him and his funky Gita play. I am sure he will also be glad to know that his story now inspires my dad in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

Anonymous said...

When Greg served as an elder at Town North (PCA), I was teaching the kindergarten Sunday school. I asked Greg to talk with the children about the LORD's supper. He told us that he liked to approach the table thinking about the great marriage feast of the Lamb, how when we take communion we ARE communing with Christ; that it is a taste of what we will experience with our LORD JESUS in heaven. Greg related that he looked forward to that actuality one day. Greg's sharing this helped my perspective in approaching our LORD's table. Now Greg is experiencing the actual presence of the LORD JESUS he loves so much. BethB

Anonymous said...

I learned about Greg from the journal of an an AT thru-hiker who knew him (One Leg, I believe). I then subscribed to Greg's blog. Although I never met him personally, he has had a deep impression on me. His fighting spirit and his strong Christian faith really inspired me. Rest in peace, Greg; I will always remember you with much warmth and admiration. Ann Strauss, Maryland

Anonymous said...

If I can stop one Heart from breaking by Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain

Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.

I guess we all know now that Greg did not live in Vain... he taught us all the true meaning of Faith!

Suzanne Hopkins

David Alexander said...

"Well done good and faithful servant" is the phrase that keeps coming to my mind as I think about Greg. He has no doubt heard those words and they capture so much of how I saw Greg approach life. I met Greg while I was at Rice and we grew spiritually & ministered together while studying there. I have never forgotten the determination, grace and honesty with which Greg approached all of life, including his physical challenges (or his playing guitar in his room or his laugh)!

Greg, I am so sorry that you are not here with us, but I am so thankful that you are now truly free in a place 'that is better by far'. You fought the good fight and finished the race so well - thank you for letting us in to see some of it. It is and was a great privilege.

David said...

As I read through the comments, there is a common theme - Greg fought the good fight. It was a hard and difficult fight for him. But I can now rejoice for him, because I know that he has received his crown of righteousness, but I also mourn, because I, as well as many others, will greatly miss him.

I remember sitting in his room at Rice (We were always in his room) and playing Bridge. If his opponents had a bid that would help them win, he would outbid them even though he had a losing hand and had no hope of winning the bid. His opponent finally was dealt a hand that he could not outbid. But "death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting... Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor 15:55,57

Greg convinced me to miss a few days of class to go with him to Purgatory, CO for the ski event for the disabled. Before we left, we agreed to be careful not to lock the keys in the car. Sure enough in a small town in New Mexico, we locked our keys in the car. It didn't take long to get them out, and in a few hours we were on the slopes. Greg convinced me to hide my shoes, rather than to hike back to the car. At the end of the day, the shoes had disappeared. I will always cherish the time we had together on that ski trip.

When Greg proposed to Christine, I picked him up at the airport and brought him to where he was to surpise Christine. About 5 minutes after I left, I realized that I had not given Greg the keys to the car, so I had to interupt him to give him the keys.

This is a verse that describes Greg, and it gives encouragement and hope to those who love Jesus. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." 2 Tim 4:7,8

Dale said...

I met Greg in the early 1990s in Cambridge when he would come to Park Street Church's student house - the Wilson House, for dinner. What a wise and joyful guy. He asked great questions, was a terrific listener, and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was very present in the moment, even then.

When I moved to Dallas in 1995 he was the only person in the state that I knew so I went to Town North for a while until he and Christine took me downtown to a dramatic event at Park Cities Presbyterian Church. I attended PCPC for the rest of my three years in Dallas and made some friends there that I'll keep for a lifetime.

When my wife was treated for cancer in 2005 I communicated briefly with Greg because I knew that he knew what we were going through. Thankfully she is well these days and we haven't had to speak the c-word in our home for five years now. Cancer's current legacy in our home comes in the fast-moving form of two adopted sons...chemo robbed our fertility, but God has redeemed that loss with our two little joy-bringers and we are humbled by His gentleness with us and by the privilege of being entrusted with their care. The theology of adoption takes on especially relevant meaning for us these days.

We don't know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future, and we try to be intentionally and fittingly grateful for every day. I love what Greg said in a post last November: Life is becoming so precious that I don't even like to sleep anymore, lest I let any more of it slip away.

I look forward to having some long talks with Greg in Heaven. I can picture exactly the sort of knowing smile of recognition he'll give when he sees me...a look that says we shared some stuff in life, but that all pales compared with what we'll share afterwards.

I'm praying for you, Christine, and the Hewletts...for a deep sense of God's sorrow, his comfort, and his hope.

Pat O'Hara said...

Jim, Judy and Family, I was so saddened to find Greg's obituary in the newspaper. Sid and I send our deepest condolences to you and all of your family. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. I wish I had known about Greg's blog so that I could have been following his posts. God bless all of you.
Love, Pat & Sid O'Hara

Cathy Allen said...

This excerpt from "A Prayer of a Sick Person" which Greg thought beautiful & posted 10/08 has now come to pass. Greg is praising & glorifying God...surrounded by music as always & free from a diseased body.

"Grant that my sickness may be the means of my true repentance and amendment of my life according to thy will, that I may spend the rest of my days in thy love and fear: that my soul, being helped by thy grace and sanctified by thy Holy Mysteries*, may be prepared for its passage to the Eternal Life, and there, in the company of thy blessed Saints, may praise and glorify thee with thy Eternal Father and Life-giving Spirit. Amen.
* "Holy Mysteries" is an early church term for sacraments."

Unknown said...

Dear Christine,

Dick and I are feeling familiar emotions as we think of Greg now in that far better place with the
Lord. We remember how he and Lisl "fought" together for awhile.
Now no more fighting, just resting and rejoicing.
And you Christine are in our prayers as you face this new era in your life. May it be filled with comfort, peace and many wonderful memories of the fine man who was your husband. We pray too for your release from physical pain.

Love, Dick and Jean Gaffin

Unknown said...

Dear Christine,
Our hearts are with you, and will continue to be with you, for the days, months and years ahead. For all the struggles you have met, and for standing in faith when so many difficult questions poured over you these recent years, we offer our condolences, tears, prayers, and hugs. Greg was a servant. He loved you. Treasure this in your heart. Allow your mind to always remember your husband was a man who walked with God in a way most of us have not enjoyed or understood.

We look forward eagerly to the happier times ahead that we can also share with you. Until then, be at peace in the love of the Father.

Carson and Wendy Tavenner

Jim Hewlett said...

Words cannot express the feelings we have experienced from the outpouring of Love that was shared at Greg’s visitation and memorial service. What a great Joy we experienced, unlike any we could have imagined. We want to thank everyone for their prayers, words of encouragements, food shared with our family, help with the family, flowers, gifts and the contributions to the MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Art project in Houston and World Vision.
We will all miss Greg but know that he experiencing the JOY of being with his Lord.
Judy and Jim Hewlett

Jim Hewlett said...

Many thoughts have crossed our minds since Jan. 17th, Greg’s last day on earth. We as most parents have asked “why” but we have not and only rejoice that the Lord provided us with such a wonderful son. The outpouring of love at the visitation and the memorial service was indescribable. How could this one individual have such an impact on so many lives? He lived his Love for Christ.
We challenge each of you to read the transcript of his final sermon (on his web page) he preached on Jan. 2nd, only 15 days before his last day. The topic “The Word Became Flesh” and was a Christmas story like none we have ever heard. Greg has now experienced the mystery of and victory over death and is in Glory with Jesus. The last words of his sermon “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory.” What an incredible end on this earth of his ministry to all of us. Praise God!!!

Michele Gammel said...

I worked with Greg when he was an intern at TI back in the late 80's? He told me years later that he learned alot from me and it help influence the way he developed software. I appreciated those generous words from him so much.

Greg, now you're in paradise with your Lord and Savior. I'm looking forward to seeing you when I get there and to our lives on the new Earth.

Michele Gammel

Robyn Regan said...

I met Greg during a summer internship at TI in 1991. Through the summer, we shared a lot of good times which meant going to Texas Rangers games and playing basketball!

During the summer, Greg led to me Jesus, and I am so grateful to him. I didn't know much about God at the time. Greg lovingly guided me and answered question after question from me.

I am now married to a wonderful Christian man and am raising my children to love God. Greg has had an eternal impact on my life and my childrens' lives. I pray for Greg's family and know that Greg is playing baseball and basketball in heaven!

Deron Brown said...

I will never again see such impressive genius and goodness trapped inside such painfully vulnerable physical machinery. Perhaps Greg's obvious chronic physical weakness should serve to remind us all that - in spite of all the genius and goodness with which God blesses humanity - the world is still in need of that redemption found only in Christ our Lord.

Cynthia Andrews said...

Amazingly courageous, God-fearing guy! This blog has helped so many people, those with cancer and those without. It is certainly a reminder that life is precious and to live it to the fullest. Greg's positive attitude and strong desire to look for the positive things in life is obvious from his years of blogs. I will soon graduate from nursing school and will always keep Greg's battle in my mind. It helped me to understand what patients endure both mentally and physically. Susan, Julie, Christine and Mr. and Mrs. Hewlett, I am so sorry for your loss. I know you will miss Greg's humor that was ever present. We can all say he was a strong warrior in God's army who will be missed. He fulfilled his purpose. God always takes the good ones first. He leaves people like me who are still a work in progress to keep on trying to get it right. Greg got it right faster. I always knew he was smart! Love you guys

Unknown said...

As usual, I'm always the last person to hear news, good or bad.

When I learned last night of Greg's passing, oh Lord how I wept. The more apt term would be true, mournful weeping.

Back in 2003, I made the decision to hike the Appalachian Trail. I didn't do this to impress anyone - I merely wanted to prove to my children that limb loss did not necessitate the end of one's world, but rather, the beginning of an entirely different adventure. The only people I told of my plan were my immediate family and my prosthetist, both of whom did not mince words in telling me how crazy and insane I was for attempting such an "impossible" feat. I contacted Otto Bock (the makers of the C-Leg) to inquire about a solar charger, as a 2,180 mile long extension cord was entirely out of the question. That inquiry lead to the entire world being informed of my plans! (Otto Bock issued a press release world-wide.)

I googled my name, and found that Greg had mentioned "a guy with the same leg as mine", and that is how I came to know Greg Hewlett.

Greg gave me so much inspiration and courage to keep moving forward. On days when I wanted to abandon it all and just go home, I would think of Greg and what he was having to endure, and then realized that I didn't have it so bad after all.

After life on the trail, I attempted to keep up as much and as often as I could with Greg and his treatment progress. However, given the fact that I have 7 children who are frequently demanding of my time, I would abandon my computer in lieu of giving them the time that they needed, and would inevitably lose contact with Greg for a few weeks.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas of last year, I attempted to call Greg, but never was able to reach him. I had wanted to tell him that I loved him as a brother in Christ, and had that I was helping him bear his burden by daily praying for him. It deeply saddens me to the core that I wasn't able to get ahold of him just so he'd know exactly how much that he meant to me. In spite of the fact that we'd never once met face-to-face or spoke with one another on the phone, I considered Greg to be among my top 3 friends, real or internet. It is so neat to see that he meant so much to so many -- if we could just have half of the testimony that Greg had when it comes our turn to enter eternity, then we will have accomplished much in this life on behalf of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

I don't know if Greg's family or friends will see this, given the fact that so much time has passed. But, I am going to throw out this request with the hope that someone will see it and have the ability to pass it along to Greg's wife or parents:

Mr. & Mrs. Hewlett and Christine:
Thank you so very much for sharing Greg with the rest of us. Please know that there's a family of 9 in East Tennessee who prayed for Greg on a daily basis, and will now pray for you as well, that God's love and mercy will be sufficient during times of sadness, loneliness, and wishing that you could talk to Greg just one more time.

While I don't personally know any of you, I do consider you my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and love you as such. Please know that I am so very sorry that Greg didn't receive the healing in this life that we would have liked to have witnessed. God did answer your prayers for Greg's healing - He just gave Greg the ultimate healing and took Greg to a world that knows no pain, sickness, sorrow, or tears. And I cannot wait to get there myself and meet Greg face-to-face, whole in body, and compare our new Heavenly legs with one another.

Only because Christ lives,
Scotty Rogers

Charlotte Cole said...

I have colon cancer and a friend sent me this, I am so blessed for it. May you be blessed as well knowing your Greg lives on here while he is in the Presence of his Savior in heaven.

KC said...

I am disappointed that I lost track of Greg after graduating from Rice. He was soooo funny and smart while churning through tough coursework. I knew cancer cost him his leg, but I didn't realize cancer had returned until maybe a couple of years ago. He lived much more of a life than I probably ever will.

Unknown said...

I was going through some things in my credenza and ran across an article I had received about Greg making valedictorian at Berkner High School. I decided to do some research on the internet to try and reconnect with Greg. I was devastated to see he had passed away.

Back when Greg was in high school I was a young volunteer every Thursday night at M.D. Anderson Hospital. I asked them to give me their most difficult assignment. They put me in the children's section with those suffering from cancer related illnesses. I didn't understand how this could be the most difficult until I came to know what these young ones were going through and how each were coping with this life altering challenge, some of them loosing their hard fought battles to recover.

Another volunteer and I would make popcorn, show movies, and sometimes just talk with a child or parent to offer support.

It was on one of these Thursday's that I met Greg. A confident, caring, happy young man in spite of facing the challenge of loosing his leg. I came to have great respect for Greg as we got to know each other and talked about family, friends, and life's goals. He was one of the most positive and goal oriented teens I had ever met. He loved his family and they were always so supportive.

When he was finishing at Berkner he sent me an invitation to attend his graduation, in it was a clipping from the Dallas Morning News of his being named Valedictorian. He always amazed me. I had accepted another job in Utah and was very disappointed I could not go. I gave quite a bit of thought to his graduation gift. I had a feeling he was a special young man and wanted something special for him. I finally decided on sending him a Mont Blonc pen to go with his enthusiasm to be the best at whatever he set his mind to.

I regret I waited so long to try to reconnect. I will always remember the laughing, the quiet discussions we had, the focus he had on his vision of himself, of what he wanted to be as a man. It sounds like he achieved that and much more.

I look forward to seeing you again when my journey here is done.