DWITS #11 – Chapter 8, The Best Birthday Ever

The photo above depicts my late husband, Cary, and all of our living children and two future daughters-in-law (except Hayley isn’t pictured but was there), at the Water World amusement park the day before his unexpected death on June 2, 2013, two days after his 62nd birthday. What a great memory they made together to cherish beyond his grave!

As written in my latest book, Death, Where is Thy Sting? Recovery from the Loss of Our Loved Ones and Preparation for Our Own Final Days, hard as it was to have our baby die unexpectedly, the sudden death of my husband was significantly more grievous and life changing. I am thankful that the year, the month, the week before — even the last two days of his life — played out like they did with time well spent together as a couple and with our children. This mid-chapter excerpt details the last two days of Cary’s earthly life.


It was a beautiful day in late May for a mountain drive. We soaked in the views and the rare time alone with each other. Arriving at the dealership, Cary saw for himself the diesel Ford F-350 truck was perfect for what he needed and wanted. I typically paid the bills, but this time my husband enjoyed writing out the check himself, which was for more than he had ever spent on a single vehicle in his life. He was happy, healthy, and smiling broadly — the epitome of a western outdoorsman who possessed vigor and daring. We took our friend and his dad out for a sumptuous Italian lunch before we headed back to collect our kids, driving two vehicles back home to the farm. He was so excited about that truck! At last, the man who enjoyed and appreciated cars and trucks more than anyone I knew, had the vehicle of his dreams.

The very next day, Cary and all of our children went to a water amusement park for the day. Even my two daughters who lived out-of-state, and were headed out again the following week, were there to join the fun. My two oldest sons with their long-time girlfriends also went along. It was a cool, overcast day so the amusement park lines were short and all of them had a blast getting more rides in than they would have thought possible. I stayed home with a bit of an upset stomach, enjoying one of the few days of my being totally alone on our remote farm. I completed a few chores, mostly piddled, enjoying my rare day off from a busy life with a retired husband home most of the time and six or more kids at home all the time. The solitude and quiet was relaxing and refreshing.

When they arrived home that evening, Cary declared, “I’ve had the best year of my life, the best birthday week with you, and the best day ever with my kids!” He further stated, “I’m tired, I’ve got a shiver up my back, and my stomach is a bit upset like yours. Let’s go to bed and we’ll talk more in the morning”. I agreed. Not even sharing our standard good-night kiss, we each rolled over into deep slumber.

(Chapter continues in book.)

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