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  • Writer's pictureNeal Hagberg

Steve Wilkinson Slipped Away Quietly Eight Years Ago

Steve Wilkinson died eight years ago last week, on January 21, 2015. Eight years is a long time and the blink of an eye.

People, when they found out he was in home hospice, all wanted to see him. TLC campers, instructors, former Gustavus players, friends, family.

They lined up for a chance to say goodbye. But Steve put an unexpected twist to how his sto

ry would end, by writing a new chapter for each person who came to see him.

He would have them come into the living room two at a time where his hospice bed was set up, and he and Barb would have arranged for the two people – who had never met before – to be paired with each other for the visit. Because Steve thought these particular two strangers should meet and this may be their last chance.

Too weak to speak, he would lie in his bed with one stranger on one side and one on the other, listening as they shared their stories and got to know each other, smiling at their jokes, and on rare occasion whispering a sentence or two of appreciation. This went on for two or three weeks.

At the end of that time, Steve slipped away quietly, the way he preferred.

But he left behind, even in the last few painful weeks of his life, people who were no longer strangers, but friends.

It is the most important thing we do. The rest slips away quietly.


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