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Apr 18

Unfortunately this is a sad blog. My wife’s father Bud died 10 days ago.

He was 72 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer a couple of months ago. He had a weak heart and had been suffering from pneumonia as well, which meant that because his general health was bad, he was unable to stand up to regular chemotherapy treatment. Instead of weekly hospital visits he had only been able to have three sessions since February, and last Saturday his heart gave out.

We got a call to say he had been taken to hospital, the third time in a week the family had dialed 911 for him. Soon after that, it seemed like minutes, my wife’s brother phoned with the news he had died. The two of us and our daughter jumped on a plane to Charlotte within a couple of hours, and stayed in North Carolina for a week.

When something like this happens it hammers home how important your family are. They define you and instill your values and set you on your life path. They (by and large) create your personality and are responsible for how you view the world. Nature, nurture, it all comes down to the same thing… My wife is so like her father in so many ways.

It’s hard when you live so far away from them. My wife is hundreds of miles away from hers, I’m thousands of miles away from mine. I grew up around my grandparents, spending summers with them and sleeping over at their houses, but our daughter will never have that experience. For better or worse, we set up home in a city built on a swamp with no familial ties for either of us. Of course as with anything in life, there are drawbacks and benefits.

It was the first funeral I’ve ever been to in the States, and a Southern Baptist goodbye is certainly a lot different to those back home. But the geography and culture doesn’t really matter in the end, it’s all about closure with someone you loved.

Now we are back home and I’m back to work, teaching my three different writing classes and working on next season’s football schedule at my daughter’s school. And putting off cleaning out a blockage in our gutters after the heavy rains we’ve had, in what was apparently the seventh wettest March on record.

So RIP Bud Wiggins, 1939 – 2012. You will be missed.