A Hard, But Good Day



Last night as I was about to doze off the text on my phone buzzed. Russ was already asleep since he was going to be getting up early to fly to Philly to visit his younger brother who is home recovering from a serious heart attack. Carter was down in her room so I almost did not bother to rummage around on my bedside table for my reading glasses to see who was texting me so late at night. My normal mode of thinking is no late news is ever-good news and bad news can wait until the morning.


Something made me break habit and I turned on the light and looked at the message. It turns out that Carter had read a message on Facebook from my cousin saying that her father was nearing the end. I have known for a while that my poor Uncle Wilson had suffered enough with cancer and the pain was bad, but apparently in my effort to deal with my own grief I had not fully informed Carter of how bad it was.


“Mom, I need to go see him tomorrow.” She was right. Since my Uncle and Aunt live in the house next to my parents on their family farm they have been a fixture in Carter’s life, more so than most people’s great Aunt and Uncle. After much late night texting back and forth I begged her to go to sleep and we would go and see him in the morning.


Carter got up for her normal Saturday job at her barn, cleaning stalls and caring for horses and I texted my cousins. What I learned was that Wilson had finally decided it was time to go to Hospice and leave his beloved farm. I texted Carter that she needed to leave work and get right home so we could rush up there to see him, having no idea if he was lucid enough for our visit.


We got there before noon and found Wilson to be in great spirits and very awake. Aunt Janie Leigh was sitting on the sofa in his room with his bags packed and told us the EMS just called saying they had an emergency and were delayed in coming to get Will.


Uncle Wilson opened his arms and I was able to go and give him a hug and as the words, “I love you,” were coming out of my mouth the tears started flowing. He strongly replied, “I love you too, sweet girl. Thanks for coming. This stinks, doesn’t it?”


Stinks is not a strong enough word. Uncle Wilson and I have shared a lot of the same loves. He is an avid game player and at the beach in the summer we would carry on massive games of Risk. He was my first real photography teacher and he is the only grown up I knew when I was a child who openly proclaimed that dessert was important.


Carter got a good visit and felt better about seeing him while he was still in his own house. My cousin Brooks and his wife Sherri came in and it was like regular times telling stories and laughing. Then Will asked for some pain meds and soon after that the EMS showed up.


The hardest part was watching as they shut the door on the ambulance taking him from his beloved farm. My Dad, Aunt Janie, Brooks, Sherri, Carter and I stood teary in the driveway knowing this was the end of his long walk home. This was absolutely the right way for Carter to get to say goodbye. I’m still in denial because I have 54 years of memories of my life with Uncle Wilson and I know he will always be with me no matter what.

3 Comments on “A Hard, But Good Day”

  1. Mary Kendall says:

    It is never easy, is it? I’m glad that you and Carter got to see him and be there with the family for this last time together at the farm. My prayers are with him and all of you, Dana.

  2. Stori Cadigan says:

    Oh Dana…I am so sorry. I wish I had come to visit. He will be in all of my prayers.

  3. ellenpunderwood says:

    I will share this with Mom tonight. We all love Wilson and he is in our daily prayers.

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