The Last Ride Home
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.