I never met a three-day-old donkey before.
Ben, Tina and I flew into San Antonio. After the drive north to Boerne we headed for a bite of lunch, a bit of birding in Cibilo Park and checking in at Ye Kendall Inn.
News of Diane Wilson’s death threw us into a swirl of preparations to fly south. Diane, wife of Fred (Rodney Wilson’s youngest brother) developed lung cancer not long ago. At least, the diagnosis was then, we suspect she was carrying that burden long before the doctors so pronounced. Hospice, during her last weeks provided pain relief and amazing care.
Death following incapacity and debilitating pain can come as a mixture of grief and relief. The end of suffering is a strange liberation.
Back to the donkey. Fred lives on a remarkable thirteen-acre plot of land south of Boerne. Besides the house, swimming pool and bar-b-cue patio there are four horses, three or four goats, several donkeys and six dogs. Momma donkey, Louise, gave birth to Zachariah three days before we arrived. As we drove down the driveway, Louise steered her baby toward the fence. Did she intend the introduction and pictures?
All across the property are hundreds of beautiful stones. It is a remarkable piece of land to wander around. The weekend before Rodney’s death in June, 2011 flashed through my mind as the last wandering I had done there. My thoughts swirled in many directions while I kept my eyes and ears tuned to catch the chipping sparrows, Carolina wrens, phoebes, titmice and a couple of unidentifieds.
Thinking back through the years I rehearsed my life as a Wilson. I knew Fred (Freddie) before I knew Rodney, who was still in the Navy. Something like sixty-seven years ago I began my journey with this remarkable family.
The time surrounding a death is precious time for renewing family bonds. I don’t play the role of sister-in-law very often, but this was a rare and meaningful opportunity for that. We were honored to be there for Frederick Dean Wilson and his daughter, Cindy.