Wilder's Whole World: Your loving son, Dwayne

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

Dear Mom:

You wouldn’t believe the year we’ve had! The pandemic and the civil unrest; and don’t get me started about the election! Needless to say, we are ready for 2021…

It’s been a while since I wrote; I guess the years are getting shorter now. It’s so hard to believe that you’ve been gone 19 years now, on Dec. 19, no less. Your death was a surprise and difficult to say the least, but somehow, we have made it through—I’ve made it through. I’m still amazed by the timing. You lived long enough to witness Sept. 11 and to help Dad through his heart attack; then your illness took over. Just like it was time, just like it was meant to. Even so, it still hurts. I miss you something fierce!

Even without the Year 2020, so much has happened since I last wrote. We moved back to Sherman/Denison and Ryan – your fantastic grandson – started and finished college. There’s another college graduate in the family! He already has a ‘career’ job and is on his way. You would be so proud.

Since Dad died five years ago, I haven’t thought about writing either of you. Since then, we sold the old homestead; and Route 4 will never be the same again! Ryan finished third in his class; he missed Salutatorian by only hundredths of a GPA point. It was a small school and a small class, but nonetheless, a great high school experience for him. His basketball team won district with an undefeated season; and he was named A+ Athlete. He also the All-Texoma Three Point Contest winner his senior year.

You would be so proud of the man he’s become regardless of any accolades. Ryan is smart, kind and considerate of others. Of course, he has his quirks, but don’t we all. I know I’m proud of him; you’d be over the moon for him, I’ll bet! I still work with special needs children and write when I can; Debbi has her plate full with all things accounting. We are making the best of life as we face an empty nest; times sure are a-changin’…

Your other children are doing well. Hope, Allison, Tim and Beth are navigating the pandemic the best way they can in their respective lives. Hope is a Ph. D. now; and Allison could probably program a robot! Tim works in finance while Beth still trains Dobermans. We are scattered across Texas and Arkansas; much like we were when you passed. You’ll be happy to know that we still get together regularly. It’s good to keep family intact as long as you can.

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic and what it has done to our collective psyche or the milestone of Ryan’s college graduation, but I wanted to write you this year. This is something I haven’t wanted to do in years. It’s not that I don’t think of you or love you any less; I think it’s partially how Life has encased us in our own little world. We get too busy to do anything but live our lives. It takes something ‘big’ like a pandemic to jolt us out of our rut, so to speak.

I was thinking of something you said once and realized that I hadn’t written in years. I was aghast (and not just because I wanted to use that word in a sentence). I really was upset that I have neglected to tell you what has progressed in this wonderful branch of Life you created. When you married Dad in 1958, I’ll bet you never conceived of what might be happening in 2000, much less 2020. I’m here to tell you it is A LOT!

You taught us five kids so much about life and how to live it. There is no doubt that without you to guide us, we would be rudderless now all these years later. Your strength of character is something I hold on to every day; and I know I will until the day I die. You gave us something that can never be surpassed; you believed in us and you cared about us. Something so simple is what I remember in the long run; it’s in all the things you did for us: the early morning breakfasts, the piano lessons, the advice, the freedom to be ourselves and that contagious smile.

As I write this letter, I am overwhelmed with the sheer tremendous nature of Patricia Lois Toldan Wilder. Mom, things are great – even in a pandemic – and mostly, it’s because of you…

Your loving son, Dwayne 

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.