The night before he died

12 Years ago TODAY, this came in the mail:

Bill, my first husband, said, "We aren't going to wait till Christmas, are we?"
And I said, "Of course we are!"

Bill never got to see this.

Our oldest son, Brock, drew this while on his mission and sent it to us as our Christmas present. Of course none of us knew Bill would not live till Christmas. In fact he died the day after this arrived in the mail.

I had been running a fever all that day. I went to bed very early, about 7pm, while Bill stayed up playing with the boys, ages 10 and 12. Logan, age 17, was out with friends. (Brock, 19, was on his mission.)

I had chills but wanted to keep sleeping so I called out to Bill. He came in the bedroom and all I said was, "I'm cold." He left the room and came back with 2 extra quilts he had taken off the boys' beds. He put them both on me, patting them around my body so I would warm up quickly. I didn't even open up my eyes.

Next thing I knew I squinted open my eyes and looked up at the clock, half asleep. It was about 10 pm. I could hear the boys still playing with their Dad. I heard a ball bouncing up and down the hallway. Not a hard ball, but a plastic 49ers football. Still it continually slammed against walls and doors. Lots of laughter. Happy noises. I wanted to get up and tell everyone to GO TO BED and to QUIT PLAYING BALL IN THE HOUSE. My fever was the only thing that kept me from interfering.

I had no energy so I drifted back to sleep. Thankfully I did, because we would later learn this would be the last time McKay and Tyler would play with their Dad.

More on this tomorrow.


Anonymous said…
This brought tears to my eyes...What a neat picture! Ican barely see it because my eyes are all teary!
grandmapeg said…
That is a beautiful drawing that Brock did of you guys. I'm sure that Bill knew of and appreciated Brock's artistic ability. You have mentioned to me how proud Bill was of all of your sons. What a blessing that was that you couldn't get out of bed because it gave McKay and Tyler one last fun memory of playing with their father. Thank you for sharing this.
Anonymous said…
This is very touching. We're looking forward to the next installment (which we'll probably read a week from tomorrow). Brock certainly does have a talent, doesn't he? I'd love to see more of his drawings. Love, Dad and Susan
Rebecca said…
Brock is an amazing artist! Does he still draw? When yo mentioned the last time Tyler and McKay played ball with their Dad, It made me think of something I have been thinking about lately. We often note the "firsts" in our lives and those of our children. But we usually do not note or remember the "lasts", maybe we need to take note of them more. Thank you for this post. If anything, it makes me think of the little things in life, and enjoy them more, because we never know what is around the bend in the road for us.
There are no words. Sending you and yours love this Thanksgiving.
kelly said…
The Lord sure works in mysterious ways. I sure wish I would have had more time with my dad.
Anonymous said…
This is really nice. I had no idea that you had that picture. What a treasure.

That is really nice that Tyler and McKay have a very nice "last memory" of their dad. So many times people have bad ones or had a fight or something before someone passes away. That is so good for them to have that. What a blessing to you too.
Anonymous said…
Dearest Jill and sons,

Always in my thoughts; always in my heart. I am so very proud of you all.

Much love,

Lisa said…
The drawing is absolutely beautiful. It's priceless.

You have the most exquisite ability to pen your life's story. Everything is so vivid-drawing us into your life. It's a privilege that you allow us in. Thank You.