Last Stand

Have you ever wondered who or what would be your last vision on earth?

On a brisk late October Saturday morning, Jack left his wife’s side in their warm bed and headed up the hill above their home to deer hunt.  He left a note on the kitchen floor so his wife would stumble upon it when she awoke.

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He had an agreement with his friend, Butch – they both tell each other their whereabouts when leaving for the woods.  He told Butch he’d be at the 365. Jack wore his orange hat and vest.

Around 8 am, a stranger, but fellow hunter noticed the orange of Jack’s hat and vest through the woods.  Hunters etiquette is unspoken but universal – give your fellow hunters space and silence – don’t disrupt another’s shot and keep hunters safe from bullets.  About 10 am, the fellow hunter again passed by Jack’s stand. Jack’s orange hat and vest outlined Jack’s sitting position – Jack was slumped over.  The fellow hunter called the sheriff.

Meanwhile, at home, Jack’s wife had gotten his note and worried why he hadn’t returned.  She called Butch. Knowing Jack’s location in the woods, Butch went to find him.  Approaching the stand, Butch was stopped by the sheriff, “stay back! we have a deceased person.” Butch convinced the sheriff, “I think I can identify the deceased for you.”

And he did.

Jack, slumped over his rifle that was resting on his knees, had one hand in his sweatshirt’s pocket.

It had been instant. It was a massive heart attack. Jack died, doing what he loved where he loved.

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Returning 3 weeks later for Jack’s memorial, we made our way through the forest to Jack’s Last Stand.

I sat down on the stump where Jack had sat – I wondered if the trek up that hill had been tough – was he out of breath? was he cold? Did he think about his warm bed that he’d deserted that morning? Did he hear deer hooves crushing the pine cones and tree debris that was scattered on the forest’s floor? Was he hungry?

And then all my questions were silenced when I looked out from Jack’s Last Stand.

This view

and then lights out.

No time for questioning.

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His heart stopped beating, but not before it led him Home, to a perfectly fitting place where he could enter the Kingdom in his orange hat and vest with silence and space, leaving behind a beautiful stand where we may now feel His Grace.

8 thoughts on “Last Stand

  1. Oh Rachel, what wonderful words to a wonderful man…isn´t that a situation we all want to do our last journey? Being at a place we felt lucky all of our life? What a gift!!!! Thinking of you all with a smile and a tear!!! M.*

  2. That is a beautiful Jack story and so him in every way that I ever knew this amazing man, he always showed so much love and respect for his wife Barbara whom he adored so the note totally makes sense, and his in incredible love for his family, I’m so very proud to have know him and his family , he left so many people with great stories and love for him, bless his wife, children and family, may this give them comfort and wonderful memories of such a great man, RIP Fred

  3. Rachel TODD told me about your letter to Jack. Beautiful tribute and very personal for those who knew him well.
    Jacks last stand is. Exactly how the Lord meant it to be and it brings joy to all who see the beautiful pic you took. That brought a bucket of tears because I KNOW the Lord orchestrated the location, time and the angels are rejoicing wit him home. I know how all are grieving but when I get down I think of his ole smile and stories and hear that laugh. Our prayers are never ceasing and know this will give comfort to all who read and truly know him . Love you all my heart is with you. Patti

    1. thank you so much, Patti. I know what a significant role you’ve played in Todd and Jackson’s lives – wow, and how great they are! You are an angel, and I’m so grateful that you’ve had such an impact on the boys’ lives

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