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Forty Years, Eight Months: If I Die Today

Larry (Tiny) Whims, Rittman High School Senior Photo
Larry (Tiny) Whims
Rittman High School Senior Photo

The lives of three would change in ways I could not imagine if I died today. My wife would feel abandoned, overwhelmed, angry, and sad.

Larry, JoCilla, and Tim Whims, Rittman, Ohio, 1970

Me with Mom & Dad
1970, Rittman, Ohio

My little girls wouldn’t be able to express their feelings of living in an incomplete family, but it would affect them forever. Without their daddy, without her husband, the near future would be terrifying.

Immediate support that follows such a tragic event would fade quickly. Like it did that one time. And then it would be just the girls, together, but alone and unsure. Their new lives would be hard to manage at first. Who would kill the bugs? But the crying would subside, and they would all grow stronger every day.

Larry, JoCilla, Jamie, and Tim Whims, Rittman, Ohio, 1970

The Whims Family
1971, Rittman, Ohio

I would miss so many smiles, and so many laughs, and so many of those funny dinner table moments.

I run the checklist as I lay in bed waiting for the moment; am I right with God? The columns of triumphs and failures race unevenly.

I’m sorry. A thousand times I’m sorry. I love you.

And the bills, and the yard work, and the home repairs, and the bugsā€¦.

It’s all in perspective now. But why now? Why not then?

The last picture I took of him

Dad – 1979
I remember taking this
It was the last photo I took of him

Playing outside, taking family vacations and making breakfast on Saturday mornings. Time, really. Just time, together. This is what’s important. Nothing else. How stupid of me.

I’m so frightened.

What do I say? Please. God. What do I say? Give me strength when the littlest comes to say goodbye.

I remove the mask. “We will meet again at some other time, in some other place. I love you.” That was all I could manage. Little did I know it would be a foundation for belief.

Forty year and eight months seems so young. It’s so unfair. I can’t go. Not now, Lord. Please.

My purpose must be served. So I trust. And I die.

Forty years and eight months. If I was my father, I would die today.


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