Fishing The Rap

For as long as I can remember my brother has loved fishing.  He has loved everything about it from the solace of sitting on the riverbank and listening to the water as it flows by to the feel of the pole in his hands and even those wriggling disgusting worms as you thread them on the shiny hooks. 

I remember as a child digging for worms so he could go fishing and I remember sometimes opening containers in the refrigerator thinking I’d find food only to find moist earth that seemed alive in it’s movement from the nightcrawlers.  I always hated actually baiting the hooks but I understood the serenity of sitting on a riverbank and listening to the water.

It didn’t really seem to matter whether you actually caught many fish or not.  Of course it was a bonus if you did catch them, but the act of just sitting there with a pole in your hand, communing with nature and clearing your head was the real prize.

Since I first got up here to Northern Virginia in February when Monte first found out he had cancer he’s been talking about him, my dad and my brother going fishing.  That was a BIG part of his childhood and his adulthood.  The rivers, streams and quarries of Nelson County have always seemed to sing a siren’s song and call him.  Every once in a while it seemed he would just be compelled to go “back home” and fish.

Last week when hospice was called in and they started his liquid morphine under his tongue it seemed that his wish to go fishing again was not going to happen.  I took my parents up to see him on Tuesday and Wednesday and he wasn’t very responsive.  He slept most of both days. 

Thursday morning he told his wife, Ana, that “Mommy and Daddy are coming to get me today to take me to play down by the river.”  My cousin and I went to see him and he seemed so much better.  He wanted to go sit down by the river.  The Rappahanock that Suzi so eloquently wrote about last week.  We found a nice little park right by the road and Edgar that he used to work with went with Cheryl and I to help get him out of the car and down there.  We brought his folding lawn chair and got close enough to the river that he could see it, smell it and hear it over the sound of the traffic that was rolling by.   

The river runs by it.


Monte and Cheryl (our cousin) enjoying the sun and the river.

The Rappahanock River

A few minutes later his brother in law called and when he found out we were at the river he asked if Monte wanted a fishing pole.  Edgar asked him if he wanted him to bring a pole and he said “If he wants to” which lately means yes so I told him to tell Freddie to please bring a pole.  He did and Monte got to sit there for about an hour with a fishing pole in his hand.  All he caught was a couple of tree roots I think but I think the act of just sitting on that bank with a pole in his hand did his soul a world of good.

Freddie, Monte and Edgar

Monte fishing at the Rappahanock

Holding out for that big one

I think we tired him out. After we got back he had to rest.

The fact that I got to witness him sitting there and enjoying something that he loves so much for maybe the last time both honored me and saddened me.  I love my brother so much but watching him literally withering away is heartbreaking.  As much as I love my brother and want him to stick around… I don’t want him to suffer and I know he is.  I just hope when his time here is done that he gets to fish to his hearts content and “the one that got away” will be him.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
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21 Responses to Fishing The Rap

  1. Dwight Burke says:

    What a great sister you are to Monte. What is even more amazing is that you are a greater person. I know that you wanted to do all you could for your brother and his family. You have done more in two months than I thought any one person could do. Watching Monte start his last journey has taken it’s toll on you,I know. Know that you are loved,know that you have made Monte’s last two months rich with love and fellowship. Yes, you and you brother got to “play by the river” one last time. Brother and sister always,Carter’s forever. Dwight

  2. SuziCate says:

    How can you make me cry so early in the morning? Absolutely beautiful. I am so glad you have been there and that you fulfilled that wish for him. thank you. Love you much. You bless our family with your goodness.

  3. That is the sweetest most poignant gift I have ever seen. What a blessing to him and to you all. I’m so sorry for all your family is going through. Holding on to those precious memories and enjoying his favorite thing is a treasure. Praying and wiping tears for such s sweet family.

  4. NikNik says:

    You are such a wonderful person all around (mom, sister, wife friend). I try everyday to follow in your footsteps in the hopes that I can one day be half the Mother you are! Love you Mama, Nik

    • pegbur7 says:

      You are a wonderful woman in you own right and I have no reservations that when the time comes you will be a wonderful mother. I love you too.

  5. Sabu says:

    You’ve taught me so much about being a loving and caring person, about giving of yourself to help others. I admire you in more ways than you can know. It hurts me to know how sad you are and that there’s nothing I can do to make that sadness go away. But know that I love you and that I’m here for you at all hours, just as you love me and have been there for me always. Thank you for being you, Mom!! Love, Sabu

  6. I am so sorry you and your family are having to go through this. Still, I’m glad Monte got to go to the river he loves. I know you will find strength to let him go when the time comes. Again, I am so sorry.

  7. Spot says:

    Oh Peg, I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out now. I’m so glad your brother got to do something he loves again and that you were not only instrumental in bringing it about, but that you got to be there with him. We’ve watched several loved ones pass from cancer and it never gets any easier. May you be blessed with the strength to let him go when the time is right and peace afterwards. He is blessed to have you and Suzi for sisters. May his passing be easy and peaceful.

    You’re family is never far from my thoughts.

  8. This is the loveliest thing I’ve read all day. The love just seeps out of your words, Peggy. You made his wish come true. So wonderful!

  9. terrepruitt says:

    Oh this is so absolutely WONDERFUL. I love this. I understand about the heartbreak of what is going on, but I love that you were able to take him to the river. A river and a fishing pole. So great!

    I will be dancing with Monte in my heart on Sunday! His name will go on my walking shirt.

  10. Pingback: RIP My Dear Brother « Square Peg in a Round Hole

  11. Alaina says:

    Ok, this post is making me cry…I think it is so special that you were able to give him that memory and share that experience with him. Remember the good times when he was his happiest.

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