The Last Ride Home

August 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Behind The Scenes

This was to be her last ride home-almost.

We left Harrisburg via Interstate 81, headed west on 322, north on 11/15 and than snaked our way through some back roads, and finally to the dirt lane that would take us into the “Bigger Plantation.” My oldest sister, Diane Bigger, 4 years my elder, was diagnosed with cancer merely 6 months ago.

I can hardly have it or believe it. This was a lady who knew how to love and to care. As a younger brother, I would watch her carefully remove glass from hands bloodied by a friend’s drunken stupor. Her compassion seemed to know few limits; at times I would question the sanity of some of her efforts. Fear did not seem to handicap her in any way. She would personally canvass East Reading with tracts each month, passing them at any hour of the day or night.

At 19 she fell in love with and married my teacher, Jeff Bigger. After several years of life in the city, they decided to move to the little farmette near Milton, PA, to be closer to Jeff’s family. At first it was a real adjustment for this life-long city slicker, but it didn’t take long for her to find ways to become active for God and bloom where planted. 12 years later, 5 children, and a grand child on the way, Diane has been given about a month to live.

Cancer has robbed her of some of her outer beauty, but has not touched her spirit or inner beauty. She has been incredibly strong through it all. I can only hope to have half of her dying grace when my time comes to go. So many memories flooded my mind as I followed that van home, and often I would find myself sobbing out loud wondering why it has to come to this.

The final turn into that dirt lane drew one more splash of emotion knowing this would be her last ride in that dirt lane. So many Thanksgivings before we had made that same turn and been treated to a royal feast-Oh the memories. I watched Jeff gently lead Diane out of the van and across the thresh hold of the house where he tenderly hugged and kissed her as if it was their honeymoon night.

The hospice nurses arrived 30 minutes later, and I watched Diane sign her life away-literally. She will die soon, and then she will take her final ride home-eternally. Before leaving, she thanked me and my father for escorting her safely home. I told her that I expect her to return the favor someday; she promised me she would.

I love you Diane.


6 Responses to “The Last Ride Home”

  1. Pastor Neil S. Martin on August 17th, 2009 11:41 am

    To all the Fox family…Marcus and Pastor Fox shared with my wife and I Diane’s condition when we met last Tuesday. I am sorry for the news you have received. Be assured our church will be praying for Diane and Jeff; their family and all your families. (I Corinthians 12:26a) May our Lord Jesus be especially close to all of you at this time. Pastor Neil and Christine Martin

  2. Betty Myers on August 18th, 2009 11:12 am

    Dear Brian and family,
    My heart goes out to you and your family. I watched both my parents die from the ravages of cancer. The Lord has helped me survive my own journey with personal cancer 10 years ago next month. Why one is healed and another not I do not know. Only God in His wisdom knows and has a Godly reason for it all.

    So enjoyed GOP at our church Sunday morning (Lamb of God Mennonite, Butler, In.).

    In Christ, Betty Myers

  3. Kaylene Oberholtzer on August 30th, 2009 8:28 pm

    Yes, Diane is a beautiful lady! She has shown me how to live, and now she is showing me how to die-still caring for others from her bed and showing interest in my life even as hers ebbs away.

  4. Beth Forney Glick on October 2nd, 2009 11:54 am

    Ahh,Brian,I am so glad that you were there with her, she will be there on the other side for you as you asked. I am sorry that you had to go through this valley with one so young . I pray for you and your family.

  5. Singing for Diane Bigger | The Garment Of Praise Quartet on October 19th, 2009 11:17 pm

    […] Diane was sent home from the hospital the first week of August (see Brian’s post “The Last Ride Home“).  The family has been visiting her as often as possible, but this was the first the […]

  6. Sheila Martin on October 23rd, 2009 9:16 am

    My heart hurts for your family. I still remember when Diane sent me a letter after our stillborn baby was delivered. I didn’t know her but what a blessing it was to know someone knew my pain. I never took the time to thank her and wondered if you could tell her that for me. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We love your music!! God bless your ministry!
    Sheila (Helmuth) Martin, Indiana

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