Life’s Blessed Moments
Brought to You by Paradigm Living Concepts
“Together in Life and Death”
Bill Hill stood in front of the casket trying not to break up emotionally. Inside the casket was his beautiful wife of 58 years, Edith Hill, who had died a few days earlier.
Bill had been her close companion in life. He had been by her side throughout the long, steady decline of her health. For many years, he took care of her at home. When it became necessary to place her in the care of Arlington Place nursing facility, he remained by her side. Each day, he arrived early in the morning (often by 6:00 am) and stayed well into the evening each night. He never left her side. “My baby knows that I am here for her”, he said. “I’ve never let my baby down.”
Perhaps, as he stood at the casket looking at her beautiful but lifeless body, he felt he was somehow letting her down now because he wasn’t able to be with her any longer in her journey.
A sweet reunion was on his mind as he offered her his parting words before leaving the casket. “Goodbye baby. I’ll meet you at the ‘Pearly Gates’.”
Bill Hill wasn’t looking forward to life without his sweetheart. She had been beside him for 60 years.
They met in 1954 and married two years later. Together they worked hard to provide a home and make a living. Together they raised a family that included a daughter, Barbara and a son Bill, Jr. Together they endured unimaginable loss as their son died tragically in 1992, at the age of 29. And together they welcomed the gifts of grandchildren and great- grandchildren into their lives. It was a long and blessed partnership.
But now it was time to face the painful reality that Edith was no longer beside him.
Bill couldn’t bring himself to get out of the car at the cemetery. When asked if he wanted to join the rest of the family at her graveside for the committal service he said, “I have went as far as I can go with her.” So, he sat in the car, wondering what his life would be like without her, wondering how he would endure this separation.
That evening, after a meaningful time spent with the members of his family – most of whom had driven up from Texas for the funeral – Bill went out to the garage to feed his dogs. When he didn’t return after a bit, his daughter, Barbara went out to check on him. She found him lying sprawled out and motionless on the garage floor. Bill Hill was dead.
Although he had a heart condition; it wasn’t just a weak heart that stressed him. It was a broken and sad heart that weighed heavy upon him. He had already spent 3 days without his beloved Edith. He was facing the prospect of many more days without her. But God graciously ended Bill’s bereavement and called him home. Three days was long enough for Bill’s painful ordeal. It was time for God to reunite him in heaven with the partner that he had been united to in life.
It wasn’t easy for Barbara to lose both of her parents within days of each other. But she was comforted in knowing that her mom and dad were back together again, this time in heaven.
“I have watched my parents argue and fight, but they always seemed to come together”, recalled Barbara. “They always made a single front to anything they had to face.”
Now, that ‘single front’ includes death.
And so, for the second time in 3 days, family and friends gathered at Washington Park East Cemetery to lay to rest another loved one. Edith’s grave still had the signs of being freshly dug. Bill’s grave, right beside his wife’s, lay open to receive the casket that contained his body.
Words were spoken. Prayers were offered. Military honors were rendered. Tears were shed. But somehow, it all seemed right…even fitting to everyone who had gathered to commend Bill’s body to the earth. A loving husband and his beautiful wife were together again.
Ronald P. May
Chaplain at Paradigm Living Concepts
Paradigm Living Concepts was pleased to have cared for Edith in her final month of life and to have supported husband, Bill; daughter, Barbara; and the members of her family. “You were all compassionate and stood right by me”, said Barbara, recalling the care of the Paradigm staff. And we were pleased to be there for the family again to assist with the service of celebration at Bill’s passing.
Special thank you to Barbara Davis who gave us permission to tell such a beautiful story.