Willard, 1930 – 2011

A man I was greatly attached to passed out of this life last night, quietly and without struggle, in a bed in his own living room where he belonged, surrounded by his wife and children. I took this photo of him many years ago at the Oregon Coast. I knew him well and to me, the sight of such an industrious and practical man engaged in an activity that had no purpose other than the doing of it — the enjoying of it — struck me as a joyous rarity I wanted to record.

A boy and his kite.

Throughout the day his friends and family who were within a day’s hard ride all came to his bedside to say their names, speak their love for him, stroke his limp hand, and give him permission to go. He could no longer respond, but it is known that hearing is the last of the senses to shut down, so visitors were encouraged to simply say anything they wished him to understand before he departed for Distant Shores. Most called him Bill, though a few called him Will or Willard.

I called him Dad. Someday I’ll tell you all about him.

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9 Responses to “Willard, 1930 – 2011”


  1. 1 marni August 9, 2011 at 23:19

    Knew this was coming….but so hard to read it just the same. Love you. Hugging you right now.

  2. 2 Louis August 10, 2011 at 01:16

    Matt, A hug from me too. My condolences to you and your family.

  3. 3 Janet August 10, 2011 at 06:36

    I feel so sad for you.

  4. 4 Matt August 10, 2011 at 08:11

    Thanks friends. I’m just going to go ahead and say advance thank yous to anyone else who comments on this or even reads without commenting. I’ll take it as a given that thoughts and prayers are flooding our way. That feels good.

  5. 5 Librarian Girl August 10, 2011 at 10:39

    My heart feels heavy reading this. I’m sending thoughts your way, friend. That is a beautiful photo of your Dad.

  6. 6 Greg August 10, 2011 at 20:39

    Hello Matt,

    I am so sorry to hear that your father passed. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    Greg P

  7. 7 Rachael August 15, 2011 at 14:22

    Condolences to you and your family. Strength and courage to you as you walk along the grief path . . .

  8. 8 treeclimber4 September 4, 2011 at 20:36

    What a great photo and a great memory to cherish. I’m so sorry for your deep loss.


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