My Little Corner of the World

Nov. 17, 2003

Jack died today.  I hardly knew him, but my last memory is one that makes me very regretful.  You see, I was in a hurry.  I did take a few moments to speak, but then hurried off to something so inconsequential, I have no memory of what it was.  Now there will be no time to hear what he has to say.  There will be no time to get to know him as others had.

Jack, as his friends called him (John as his wife called him) was in his late 60's, maybe even early 70's.  He  was partner to Wayne in hands on construction.  I first met him when we were going to have some re-modeling done on our home.  That fell through and several months later we bought this house.  We called to have them do work on the new house.  Day after closing, Jack was out at 7:00 a.m. with the bulldozer to clear the land.  He went pretty much non-stop until about 3:30. 
When I came out of the house, he was sitting on his ice chest by the drive way.  His wife had gotten lost on the way to pick him up.  I offered him a ride, but he said she was on the way.  We exchanged a few minutes of conversation and then I left.  I barely remember what we spoke of.  I was preoccupied with my own plans. I do remember he told me that he would not be able to come Monday to doze as he had to go in for some medical testing.  But he would be back Tuesday or Wednesday. 

That never happened.  Cancer had taken over and he had only a few months to live.  He was transferred out of state to a large treatment center.  He spent the next 10 weeks in "aggressive" chemotherapy.

Wayne and his crew were still working daily on our house and land.  Then they would go over and work on remodeling Jacks home in anticipation of his return. They widened doors for wheel chair access and other amenities to make things easier.  They were there working when word came yesterday. Jack had died in the hospital.  He would not be coming home.

What I wouldn't give to turn back time and wait just the 5 or 10 minutes for Jacks wife to have arrived.  Those minutes would not have made a difference to what ever errand I was on.  But those minutes would have saved me several hours of tears of regret.......and they would have made a few minutes of Jacks remaining days a little brighter.