May 17, 2016

Our Last Ride

"Go home and be with your family...enjoy your time with them," Daddy's doctor told him.

So that is what we did. 11 days after we were told the initial news about the cancer, we brought Daddy home.

Time stood still that Thursday evening. We soaked up each moment with each other. We overused I love you because we meant it, every time. We stared at each other. We hugged. We cried. We ate a lot...of any kind of food he wanted. We held each other tight. 

"Do you know what means the most in this world to me?" he asked me, as I was walking out of his bedroom.

"What, Daddy?"

"You," he said pointing at me.

I fought back the tears as I walked back over to hug him one more time. As I walked towards him, my mind traveled to when I was little- he would back into the driveway and I would run up to his dumptruck for a hug.

"You know what means the most to me?" I asked him, as he wiped my tears.

Neither of us could speak. We didn't have to. 

Friday night was restless. His breathing was progressively getting weaker and weaker. His pain levels were untouched by the pain medication- but he was still fighting to be himself.

"I want to take a shower...and then I want to go for a ride," he said.

My determination kicked into high gear. It was the first thing he had said he wanted to do, besides eat, since we got home. Come hell or high water we were going for a ride.

A friend was washing his truck- and all I could think about was how Daddy was going to rip me a new one, cancer or not, if that truck got scratched during the washing. I was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.

"Looks good, where are my keys?" he asked me, as we walked towards his truck.

My heart sunk. I knew I couldn't let him drive with all the medication he was on...but the thought of disappointing him tied my stomach into knots.

"I ain't stupid...I want to sit in my seat...start my truck," he said.

I passed him the keys. He sat down and started his truck. He laid his head back and closed his eyes as the motor purred and the radio played a song that fit way to well. {I Drive Your Truck, Lee Brice}

The moment flew by. He got up and moved to the passenger seat.

"Let's go somewhere, Bud," he said to me.

I was honored. No one has ever driven that truck but him. No one.

"Where do you want to go?"

"Doesn't matter...your house," he replied.

As we drove, just the two of us, I noticed he was drifting in and out of sleep. I held his hand tight and enjoyed our daddy-daughter time. I thought of all the times he would take me to ride- we would ride by every house that had horses in Dare County until we found someone who would let me pet them. Then, when we got our horse- we spent Sundays, just me and him, on our horse together. 

As we drove by Midway, his eyes popped open.

"You missed it- turn around," he snapped.

"What?" I asked.

"Midway...I want to see James. Turn around," he said.

James has been a friend of our family for as long as I can remember. When Daddy taught me how to change my oil, he told me the only other person who was allowed to touch my car was James Cahoon. 

"Daddy, I don't think James is there now...but we can go find him," I said.

"Let's go see your horses," he said, drifting back to sleep.

We pulled up to the front of my house and the horses were out front. 

"Hey Tristan!" Daddy hollered.

Tristan knickered back to him, the biggest, proudest knicker I have ever heard.

"Go feed him, I'll watch you from here," he told me.

In the moment, as special as it felt then, I never imagined how close I would hold that truck ride in my heart.

When we got back home, he slept for 5 hours. As I peeped into his bedroom, he motioned for me to come lay with him.

"I'm sorry I have to leave you soon," he said, staring into my eyes.

"It's going to be okay, Daddy. We will take care of's going to be okay," I said.

"I know you will...I know."

"Will you promise me something?" I asked, squeezing his hand.

He looked at me and raised his eyebrows.

"Promise me you'll visit our dreams?"

He smiled.

"I promise. That sounds like fun," he said, and he drifted back to sleep.

Monday morning at 6:55am my mom called. Daddy had a really bad night. 

"He wants to go on a truck ride- he said something about James," she said.

I called James and he was on the way over immediately.

I dropped Little Miss off at school and went straight to my parents. James was sitting with Daddy, telling stories about wrecks they'd hauled together and races they'd attended.

Daddy's voice was weak. I hugged and kissed him.

"Do you want me to stay?" I asked.

"I'm okay, go on to work," he told me. 

So I did. He didn't ever want for me to see him in pain and I could see how much he was hurting.

"I love you, Daddy...don't forget about our dream-dates," I said.

Just a few short hours later, Mom called me at work to tell me to come back.

"This is it...hurry."

Those words rang in my head as I sat frozen at my desk. My body started shaking. I grabbed my purse and wondered how I would get the words out of my mouth to tell my boss where I was going.

I don't remember what I said or the drive to my parent's house. I walked into the front door and could see through the back door to the porch. My daddy was sitting down with his head resting on my mom's chest. The stress-lines on his forehead were relaxed- his body was no longer tense. He was gone. 

A wave of calmness washed over me as I kissed his forehead. I could feel his spirit holding me tight. 

As difficult as the last few days were, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. We got to say goodbye- so many people never get that moment. I will cherish those last few days and I know I will see him again.

I'll see you in my dreams, Daddy.


  1. Oh Eden, I know how precious this was to you both. What a wonderful bunch of memories you have and were generous enough to share with the rest of us. A present and loving father is such a treasure! God bless you all and I hope you see him in your dreams!
    Pam Wingrove

  2. I feel like in just relived 20 years ago with the same pain, and yet same relief, and gratitude. Ypu did a beautiful job in making his transition one with dignity. He WILL watch over you, and you WILL talk to him daily, dreams and awake. Thank you for sharing

  3. Beautiful. Love and prayers to all of you.

  4. Ps 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
    I think I'll need a new bottle tonight.
    That was beautiful Eden ❤️

  5. All I can do is cry....your relationship with your Daddy sounds alot like me and my Daddy. I'm writing a comment so I can tell you that you WILL have those dreams....and he will walk with you and hold your hand. You will remember all the precious moments with him and at first it makes you cry...and fierce years go by when you feel him with you and remember how he taught you to hold a hoe to chop the garden with will smile with a full heart. He is still with you!

  6. Enden, I am so sorry....I just saw him and your mom over here at the CCRC at that little horse show, and I had NO IDEA anything was wrong....wish I would have known. My heart breaks for you and your sorry.

  7. Eden, that was the most beautiful Blog/tribute, I have ever read!I am very close to me Daddy also, and it breaks my heart for you and your Mom.I have to say, I really miss seeing your Daddy's smiling face every Tuesday when he would walk by Dare Jewelers on his way to Fresh Market! Sometimes he would stop by and chat, and other times he would just walk by, look in and smile and wave! I thought for the longest time that he worked somewhere here at the Mall, until one day right before Christmas, he came in for a visit and I finally asked him! He just laughed and said "no, I park my truck at the other end and walk down to Fresh Market. Now what have you got that don't cost an arm and a leg for my wife for Christmas!" Needless to say, I gave him a "good" discount and he pulls out his wallet and says "how about this, its all I got"...with a big grin on his face! I knew he was just trying to jew me down some more... Needless to say, we made the sale. May God comfort you and your Mom and Daughter in the days, months and years to come! <3