I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of you who were friends of my brother, Bob Risley, for the unbelievable outpouring of support, love and sharing of stories last week during my brother’s funeral services. As my brother’s illness quickly progressed downward, I would make daily phone calls for updates and as my niece would explain to me the latest, I was feeling each day the angst, anxiousness and of course fear of the inevitable.
New York is not really that far away, but yet, far enough so that we were struggling with the thoughts of not being able to be there with Bob in his last days. I knew that my mother absolutely had to be there with him, so within a matter of three hours, my mother had arrived at my home and at 7:30 the next morning, Wednesday the 18th of July, we were on our way to be with Bob. Because we felt as if each moment might be his last, I drove hoping to be there that evening, but arrived the next morning.
As we pulled into his driveway, my mother looked at me and just said, “I’m not sure I’m ready for this.” I was shaking not knowing what to expect. After Judy and my nieces Yvette and Yvonne greeted us, I immediately felt the emptiness that came with not getting my usual rib-breaking bear hug from Bob that I would always get.
My mom and I went directly to Bob’s bedside and looked into his eyes, and I said, “Hey bro’ we’re here, it’s Coonie,” and my mom simply said, “Hi, honey, mom’s here.”
Judy, Yvette and Yvonne explained to us that he could hear us and that he would react to our voices and words with movement in his brow or forehead or even eyes sometimes. During our days with him we did indeed see those reactions, making our trip a total success, as we so hoped he would know our presence.
As I notified the rest of my family of Bob’s death, I wasn’t sure if anyone else would be able to come for his services. Except for one of my sisters, all of his siblings were there as well as one of our favorite cousins and his wife and also my husband. I truly felt Bob’s family from the north country was as well represented as could be given the time they all had to get to Kentucky, arriving on Monday around noontime.
What I experienced while in Glasgow is exactly what I’ve always seen while visiting Bob and Judy in the past ... wonderfully warm, giving and fun people who really know what it is to care and be there for each and everyone in that town. Judy could not be in a more perfect place than she is to begin her healing, with the kind of friends we met there to help her. God bless everyone my family and I came in touch with and we thank you for the loving words and memories we will always have to help us heal also, so far away from Bob.
Carolyn “Coonie” (Risley) Yardley
Thank you from the North for care of brother Bob
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