6/28/09

Last Thursday My Husband Died


Last Thursday my husband died.
If you’ve read many of my posts, you knew him as “The Dawg.” It was a nickname he loved.
During a medical visit on June 1st, we were told he had Stage 3B lung cancer. It was in both lungs and in the fluid around the lungs. We left the doctor’s office and went to a Waffle House for a late breakfast. He said one thing he did not want was to linger. He was not afraid of cancer; he was afraid of lingering. Even so, we all thought he had at least several months ahead of him.
He certainly didn’t linger; he lasted only 24 days after the diagnosis.
The Dawg – Carroll Smith – was an avid sports fan who played basketball and baseball but enjoyed all sports. He passed on what could have been a major league career because he felt it was his duty to serve his country in the military. He joined the Air Force, and, fortunately, was able to play baseball for the Air Force in Europe.

An 18-month-stay in the hospital with tuberculosis and subsequent arm injury dashed all hopes of a major league career, but his love of baseball only grew.



Following military service, Carroll went to work for the federal government; he retired from the Charleston Naval Shipyard as Employment Superintendent and Deputy Director of Industrial Relations with responsibility for over 8500 employees.





He was also a pigeon fancier. He started the hobby of breeding, raising, training and racing homing pigeons as a Boy Scout to earn a merit badge. Carroll continued this hobby until a few months ago and was known world-wide for his pigeons, selling them to people as far away as Taiwan. He visited the Queen of England’s pigeon loft and was friends with the Queen’s trainer.

Friends often referred to him as “the gentleman from Georgia.” He loved his birth state of Georgia and his adopted state, South Carolina, his home for 40 years. And he most definitely was a gentleman. He was one of the kindest, nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever known.

Carroll was a man of principles, integrity and loyalty. He could carry on a conversation with anyone because he was interested in people. He loved to learn - about people, places, history, events and more.

Together, we enjoyed working crosswords, playing games of trivia, going to movies, playing cards, worshiping together at our church and hanging out with friends.
I wish I had known him longer. We met casually in July 2006 but didn’t start seeing each other until sometime in 2007. Once we did, we were inseparable.

Until now.

Last Wednesday afternoon, evening and night, I slept with him in his hospital bed. Thursday morning, at 9:30, Carroll peacefully and gently slipped away, gripping my hand as I said “Peace be with you, Carroll.”

My head knows he is at peace, but my heart hurts just the same.

33 comments:

Sandee said...

What a beautiful tribute to your soul mate Sherry. It made me cry. Biggest hug ever honey. :)

gigi said...

(((((hugs)))))
Such a wonderful tribute.
Prayers.

Michelle Alexander, REALTOR said...

:)

barb said...

A sad and sweet farewell, Sherry. Big hug.

Buttercup said...

My heart and prayers are with you.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I'm so sorry, my friend. He was a beautiful person. You'll be in my prayers.

Jenn Jilks said...

My condolences.

What a beautiful Celebration of Life you have posted.

Syd said...

Sherry, I am sure that he knew how much you loved him. I am so sorry that your best friend is gone. I'm sure that he is at peace.

The Retired One said...

I can't even imagine what pain you are going through. My husband and I met 40 years ago and have been married for 37 years this August...and I still miss him if we are apart for more than a few hours. He is my partner in every sense of the word...so to be without your best friend and partner would be very very painful and lonely.
Please know there are others out there that you can turn to for support and love. He would want it that way...

Mystery Man said...

my sympathies go out to you. I'm so sorry to hear about your husband.

Sandee said...

Thinking about you and thought you might be able to use a great big hug.

{{{{{HUG}}}}}

Lessons in the Little Stuff said...

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.
~Crystal

Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

What a beautiful tribute to the man you love...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jude said...

I read your comment at Patricia's blog and decided to drop by and offer you my condolences and sympathy and a prayer for the grief I know you're feeling. That was a beautiful tribute to and for the man you love, there never seems to be enough time.

Karen said...

I am so sorry to read this. Your Carroll sounds like a most wonderful man. I know you will have an empty place in your heart for a very long time.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh honey i am so sorry to see this. so very sorry.

hugs, bee
xoxoxoxxoxoxoxo

MamaFlo said...

Saying I'm sorry for your loss seems so small but it's all I can offer - I'm sorry! It sounds like Dawg was a wonderful man who lived life on his own terms and lived it with zest.
It sounds as though you knew and loved him well albeit a short amount of time. I'm glad you both had one another in your lives.

Sherry said...

Below are some of the e-mail messages I have received about Carroll. There are many, many more on Facebook. Thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers.



Dear Sherry,
Thank you for sending me this e-mail. Please accept my condolences. I remember Carroll as a lovely kind man, I came over to America from the United Kingdom for a holiday almost 25 years ago, and stayed with Carroll for about 2 weeks when I was about 13 year old with my Aunt and Uncle my Aunt was Vic's Mom, (Doreen) sister. My brother came over with us too, we did not know Carroll at all, he made us feel very very welcome I especially remember his love of pigeons he kept in the garden and how he would race them, we went with him a couple of times and was amazed when the pigeons came back. We had a fabulous time memories I will never forget even though I was young. My Aunt and Uncle have both died now and I know they thought alot of Carroll.
My thoughts are with you and the family at this sad time.
Please pass on my condolences.
Take Care
With Best regards
Tracy Harrington from United Kingdom


Yes we know we were contacted by the Gladwin's. I am so sorry Sherry he was a great friend and will be missed!
Steve and Donna Jenkins


Dearest Sherry,
My heart and prayers are with you during your time or mourning as always. Carroll was a great man, his smile will be one of my fondest memories of him.
Cheryl Morris

Sherry said...

MORE MESSAGES from E-MAIL


Sherry....
I know it's after the fact but I'd like to relate something that Carroll shared with me on one of our exploits, should we call them?? I took a few long trips with Carroll to various pigeon functions/purposes and he had occasion to hear my Willie Nelson CDs (more than once!). He told me that when he died, he wanted "Georgia On My Mind" played at the service —he LOVED that song and he loved Georgia! (He enjoyed Willie's version, but he made it clear at the time that Ray Charles' was a better, more powerful rendition!)
I have some GREAT memories of "the Dawg"...I only heard Wilbur Cook call him that consistently. We shared many miles, many hours and many, many, many laughs together. We shared a room in Chattanooga at the IF convention, rode together to Atlanta (twice), rode with Wilbur and Marion Cook to Hampton Roads, Va. to the IF Convention! Spent hours standing in the rain in Sumter.....
Sherry, I'm losing my pigeon buddies...Glenn Harvey, Ronnie Proveaux, Wilbur Cook, now Carroll. Miss 'em all, but in particular, I'm gonna miss Carroll Smith so much.
All our best to you, my dear...all our best! This is for you....

Stars©

I’m told for everyone who dies,
An Angel lights a star.
My good friend told me so one night,
When I’d asked what they are.

He told me stars provide us light,
And if we look real close,
The ones that sparkle really bright
Are for someone we know.

It comforts me to lie and stare
Into this summer night.
And dream about our fun-filled years-
Oh! Look!
There’s Carroll’s light!
©Tommy E. Erskine (©1987 In The Pentad)

Tommy

(2nd message from Tommy)
Sherry,
You know, I've thought about him all day long—ever since I read your email. He was as good as they come...a gentle man and a gentleman through and through!
Carroll was also one of the humblest, most self-deprecating individulas I ever met, too! If you get a chance to give me a ring some time and I'll tell you the story about the map...Wilbur, Marion and I got a lot of mileage out of that incident! And there was one about the bottle in Chattanooga, also....never did figure that one out!!! Not sure he did either! Great, great memories—to me, that is! Some of them you'd probably have to be there, but they were really funny at the time!!
Sherry, Carroll is part of what I love about Charleston, and we were both Air Force vets (he didn't mind the term 'zoomie'!) He'll live on in our hearts as long as we keep his memory alive! I like to think that he and Wilbur and Glenn are up there in that big pigeon loft, keeping track of the flyin' team for the Big Guy! And he couldn't have a better crew of handlers, in my personal, humble opinion!
If you want to talk and reminisce, give us a call....day or night, any time. Tommy



Sherry, I had no idea about your loss. You will be in my prayers. I know he must have been a wonderful man to have your love. May God give you His peace. Edwina Lowery Jackson

Sherry said...

AND EVEN MORE


Sherry--just a note to tell you how sorry I am about your husband--and to let you know that we missed you this past weekend. I hope your back situation is improving--and that soon things will begin to look up for you--seems like when stuff happens, it just snowballs! Take care, and please know that you're in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Sincerely,
Bobbi Burns


Hi Sherry,
The service was lovely. The church was filled with love and warmth, it was truly a loving testament to Carroll. He was certainly an accomplished man who had so many devoted friends. I know you are hurting, I wish I knew something to make it better.
I saw Tiffany, Mandy and Harrison. It was the first time I'd seen Harrison and he is adorable! Tiffany is all grown up, very confident and mature. They are wonderful young adults and your Mom is amazing.
I hope you will find peace in the days to come, I will be praying for you.
Take care, Lynn


Sorry, I Can't attend. He will be missed. I'm in Germany and the old soldier would understand. Lou Marino


I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for all the information you have been sending in the past months. Carroll touched so many lives. It was indeed an honor knowing him. He will be truly missed by many.
My thoughts & prayers are with you & the family.
With Heartfelt Sorrow,
Kim


Hi Sherry, we will miss you today and I will be keeping you and your loved one in my prayers. I hope you can sense God’s sufficient grace in the midst of our weakness holding and enfolding you and him at this hard time. Peace, Herman


Sherry,
I just saw on facebook about Carroll's passing. I picked up my phone to call you only to discover I never got your number after my phone was stolen. I'm truly sorry. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please let me know if you need me to do anything. My number, in case you don't have it anymore, is (deleted).
Love,
Kendall


Sherry, I just want to tell you how sorry I am to hear about your husband. If there is anything I can do, please let me know.
Take care, Claudia Rabun Bentley


Dear Sherry...I regret I will not be able to attend the visitation tonight or service tomorrow. Carmen Hanna and I are delegates for the WELCA Convention this weekend in Lexington. We will not be back in time. Will certainly be thinking about you though.
God's Peace,
Amy

Sherry, you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. I wish you peace, rest and the fondest of memories, that given time, will provide you great comfort.
Donna


Sherry,
My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry to hear about your husband.
May the peace of the Lord be with you right now.
~peace and love
Jennifer

Sherry said...

MORE MESSAGES


Sherry, My heartfelt sympathy pours out to you!
It is so very similar ... what you have just experienced to what happened just seven months ago with the loss of my husband of fifty years. Something happened much like a stroke and I called 911 and he was taken to emergency at SMC. He was Xrayed and catscanned, and we were told that my husbands insides were dying, mainly his entire digestive system. It was beyond any help they could give, and that he might last as much as 24 hours. It was agreed to keep him in the hospital and that he be given meds to keep him comfortable. He was awake for awhile, not fully coherent, and went to sleep a few hours before simply stopping his breathing. Thus it was peaceful, indeed. It was only about 10 hours after entering the hospital and only about six hours after being given the prognosis.
As he often discussed with people, his own parents (both widowed prior and then married each other) often talked about how life goes on. That is what is important for people like you and me to remember.
Take Care.
Joyce


Sherry: I am SO sorry for this loss to you and to us. We will miss him, too. May God give you peace in your heart....in your love and companionship you gave him so much, you were able to give him what he needed in these last days here among us! I have felt powerless to help. Let me know if you need anything, please.
Mary


Sherry - first of all Stephen and I are so sorry to hear of Carroll's passing. The church called me - all they told me was that the funeral was at 3PM on Saturday . . . .
Alice (DeLonge)

Sherry said...

AND EVEN MORE


Sherry, I am so sorry to hear of Carroll’s death. Dwight and I have kept up with your postings through Facebook and your blog. Blogs are a funny thing. I didn’t know him but felt like I should have as I read your postings. I was rooting for him as he endured his procedures. He must have been very special to you and his extended family. We are sorry for your loss. Janice DuBois

Dear Sherry,
I was so sorry to hear about Carroll's death, but I am so happy that you had your time together. He seemed like such a nice man. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Please let me know if I can bring food and where I should take it.
Mary Smith


Dear Sherry,
we were very upset to hear the sad news. Carroll was our friend and although we only met you the once, we knew that he was in good hands with you. please take care of yourself now. thank you for letting us know. we would have liked to come over for the funeral, but it is just too far at this time. we will miss his emails and the convention will never be the same again. please send our condolences to his family. please keep in touch and remember if you want to come to England the offer still stands, all you need to do is get a flight over and we will do the rest. three years ago Carroll was here with us for the whole of June and we have great memories of that time. Love, Pam and John



Oh Sherry, I am so sorry for your loss. I so enjoy reading your column each week and especially about him. I hope you will be okay and my thoughts are with you. We will run the picture as well. big hugs to you and your family.
Jackie


Thanks for sharing. May the Peace of the Lord be with you and your family at this time. Mikell Scarborough

Flip Flop Floozie said...

Sherry, I did not know that your hubby had died!! I am so very very sorry for your loss..I am really glad though, that he got his wish of not lingering forever and being in pain. That is in itself a blessing for him and for you. It is good that you two had the years that you had together. Please accept my sympathy...
Sandy

Sammy Hendrix said...

Sherry,
I am so sorry to hear that your husband as passed. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. The Lord Blesses us and know that your beloved husband is in a better place with no pain or suffering. Thanks be to God.
Sammy Hendrix

Sandy Meier said...

I am so sorry to hear of your husband's death. In time, I hope the pain will gently turn to peace. You have written such a lovely tribute.

MA Fat Woman said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Upcountrysmiles said...

Aloha Sherry,

I am so sorry for your loss. I never knew Dawg but I know you loved him dearly. Our condolences to you and your family.

Cindy O

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

Oh, Sherry. I'm so sorry. It hardly seems enough to say that, but I'm saddened to read of your loss. I love that Carroll was called "the gentleman of Georgia." He sure sounds like he was. I'm glad you kept on writing, even in your time of grief. It's cathartic, isn't it?

Peace and hugs,
Kathy

Anonymous said...

the light from stars takes light years to reach us. the light from stars that no longer exist is still beaming down on us. So it is with those who go before us.
Sherry, I know your husband's light with be with you always.

Mike Golch said...

I'm a bit late is saying this,sorry for your loss.

Pam said...

Sherry, I was so sorry to read about your loss. Carroll sounds like a kind and loving man. Who touched many people with his loving spirit.
Mark, Pam and Maddie

BJ said...

So sorry to hear about your loss of Carroll. I think I met him, briefly,at one of Elsie's Christmas parties, I believe. We just heard/read about his passing today while perusing the "Liars'" joke your mother forwarded early this week. I hope you're doing well.

Love y'all, BJ & Ronny

PS: I guess your mother told you I've been in and out of hospitals & seeing numerous doctors all this past year in three different states, so far with my DBS surgery. Haven't seen her or anyone far all said and done for sometime now.So sorry to hear about your loss of Carroll. I think I met him, briefly,at one of Elsie's Christmas parties, I believe. We just heard/read about his passing today while perusing the "Liars'" joke your mother forwarded early this week. I hope you're doing well.

Love y'all, BJ & Ronny

PS: I guess your mother told you I've been in and out of hospitals & seeing numerous doctors all this past year in three different states, so far with my DBS surgery. Haven't seen her or anyone far all said and done for sometime now.

Mrs Mecomber said...

Oh Sherry for some reason I missed this post and discovered it today. I wish I could say I send my "heartfelt condolences" or my "utmost sympathies" but my heart is swelling for you much more than that. Times like these I curse the distance and anonymity of the Internet. I wish I could wrap you in my arms and comfort you in person. I know we don't know each other very well, beyond Photo Hunters and an occasional comment on the blogs... but I consider you my friend and your writing makes me feel like you are an old and dear friend at that.

God bless you. Your husband sounded like the most incredible, tenderest man and you sound like a woman to be envied! It is glorious that you had him for the years that you did. :) Please take care.

 
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