2004-11-22

Roscoe Conoley 1925-2004

The sky is gray, cold, damp, and wet. It has been raining for hours. The roads are flooded, the fields are muddy, and the tank is overflowing. We pulled up to the house and see the black hearse in the driveway. Inside two men strugle as they try to move Roscoe from the bed. Brianna rushes by to give him a kiss on the forehead and to tell him goodbye one last time. He is just two months shy of 80 years old.

Just 271 days ago, it was February and everything was going well. Hailey was learning to walk and was recovering from the respiratory problems she had in December and January. On the 25th we learned some very bad news. There was something in Roscoe’s lung. It could be Tuberculoses or a tumor. Roscoe, given the choice between Tuberculoses and lung cancer, hoped for lung cancer.

He was our emergency baby sitter. Whenever Hailey was sick and couldn’t go to daycare, we could make a call, at any hour, and Roscoe would be on his way. He had been watching Hailey and didn’t want to be responsible for giving his great granddaughter Tuberculoses.

Hailey didn’t get Tuberculoses. Roscoe didn’t have it to give it to her. He had lung cancer. Brianna took the news hard. I had to go and pick her up at work that day.

Roscoe was a very active man. He worked in his garden and mowed his enormous yard, with a traditional walk behind lawnmower, each week of the summer until this last one. I tried it only once. It was too much work for me. I had to use the tractor to be as efficient. As the cancer spread, he could no longer be active. He couldn’t pick up Hailey, he couldn’t stand, even sitting became painful.

Hailey loved this man. When she sees someone with gray hair she says papa. When she sees his house she screams papa and wants to go inside. I hope that as she grows older she remembers him and how much he cared for her.

The two men put Roscoe’s body onto the stretcher and push it out the front door. They are hampered as they try to get out the door. They struggle to get around the corner. Once outside, they fight with the muddy ground before finally getting into the hearse.

Godspeed Roscoe we love and will miss you.

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