Too early, a Eulogy to Georgeanne


Georgeanne Wilcox
Georgeanne Wilcox






It started last Wednesday evening when my wife, our two daughters and I had just arrived at the theater in Panama City Beach to see Hope Springs, the new movie starring Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Steve Carell. My wife’s older sister was on the line, letting her know that another sister, Georgeanne, had gone to the hospital in Dallas complaining of abdominal pain.  The doctors were checking her out.  She might need surgery.

As the night wore on, we learned that Georgeanne coded when they first put her under anesthesia. They had revived her and returned her to the room to stabilize her before they would attempt surgery again.

By midnight, we knew my wife needed to go.  She and I drove to the airport in Fort Walton in the dark, wee hours of Thursday morning. As we crossed the bridge over the East Pass at Destin, the lights of the Gulf sky glistening on the surface of the water, my wife, Paige, turned to me.

“Life is just too rich in joy and sorrow, isn’t it?” she said.  “No one could ever capture all of it on a canvass or the written page.”

Over the next few hours, Georgeanne rallied enough for the doctors to believe they had a slight window of opportunity, a dare against the odds.  When they made the incision, they found a tear, the source of fluid that had leaked into her abdominal cavity creating  a wide-spread infection which gnawed at her weakened heart.

No help came from the dialysis, the fluids pumped into her system, the antibiotics that fought the invading hordes.

The end came about noon Saturday.

What words can do justice? Do I write about the sparkle in George’s eyes, her simplicity that found wonder in all things? What about her zany sense of humor, her glamorous bearing, her ability to make others smile?

She was only fifty-five years old at her passing, a stage in life where people clutch their dreams to their breasts and plan for successes still to come.

They were four sisters born to a mother who died even younger than George, to a father, a good proud man, who coped with his tender wife’s death by turning to the bottle and leaving his daughters to make their own ways, to sink or swim while he struggled to hold his own demons at bay.

Such sisterhood is one of those rich things about which Paige spoke.  It is a reality forged in the cruel, unrelenting crucible of life’s haphazardness, a glue no earthly explosive can rend asunder, a bond without end that knows neither past nor future, only the present assurance of love for one another.

I don’t believe men can understand such a thing.  It is a mystery too great for us,  a primordial juncture of human spirits beyond camaraderie, something on the far distant side of loyalty and yearning.

On Saturday, we will say our goodbyes to Georgeanne.  We will think together about what was, and what never was.

But there will still be four sisters.




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