ABLE is defined as having necessary power, skill, resources, or qualifications. 

ABLE HANDS are hands that can handle it!!

The doctor said, “You are more than welcome to stay here until he expires. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The other Doctor came in and said, “Based upon the length of time he spends sleeping and the number of breaths he is taking, it could be days.” I said, “Easy Doc, Go easy with those word.” She said, “I am just trying to be honest. Take him home or stay in the hospital? What a tough decision. I called my Dad. He said, “Do what you feel is best.” Instead of bringing him home to pass, I decided that to stay in the company of medical staff and doctors would be our best option. I could not imagine myself and Angelo being alone at home trying to navigate him through transitioning. I would have struggled with regrets. To my surprise, Angelo said that he was ok with the decision to stay.  

In making the decision, I understood that we would, or at least he for sure, would never leave the hospital again. Never would mean, that he wouldn’t get to drive his dream car again, go to the mall, or even sleep in his own bed again. It was a tough pill for me to swallow and I thought it would be an even harder one for him to accept. Somehow he was fine with it. You can never underestimate the ability of a person going through to get it. He heard it and he got it.  

To make our stay interesting, We took the wheel chair out one day and rode through the hospital to see the huge Christmas tree and decorations. When it was time to go back, he really didn’t want to. We rode through the snack bar for drinks, the gift shop, and down the long hallways, until he was ready to go back. We pulled in and parked the wheelchair, got him back in bed and he dozed off quickly. 

As he began to decline physically, I noticed the loss of his motor skills. Angelo has always been an independent person. I cannot even count how many times he said to me, DAD, I GOT IT!! As a parent, we work for prevention sake. We are trying to fix it so things don’t go wrong. He would find it so easy to remind me that he could confidently do whatever his assignment was. When he would fail, he would jokingly guilt me by saying, “Well, everybody makes mistakes Dad!” Momma said, “I just don’t want him to suffer long.” At first, I didn’t like hearing it because it sounded like she was rushing the process. As things began to get worse, I understood what Momma was trying to say. When a person loses their independence and mobility, along goes some of their personal dignity. It has to be frustrating to anyone, when they can no longer do for themselves and continue the things they use to do. That suffering can sometimes be worse than the illness they are battling.  

This entire time, Angelo has defied the doctor’s dates and expectations of the Hospice Care folks. He never stayed at home long enough for them to do weekly visits. When they would ring the bell, I would simply lean over the balcony and say, “He’s not here, he’s at the mall or the barbershop.”

This became the time that we would have to accept Hospice care. I figured they had chased us long enough.  

I told a friend of mine, ” I understand clearly what Hospice means!” This means that Angelo and I will go into a room, never to leave again. I began noticing all of the last things about this trip. After we agreed to stay, I drove two hours home to pick up more clothes for our extended stay. As I closed and locked my door, I said to myself, the next time I come home it will be without Angelo. My trip back to Indianapolis was my last trip of us together. I was clear, when we walk into this room, he will never leave out again. How do you say this to someone? I was at lost for words, so I just simply sought to live it one day at a time with internal secret.

I said, ” I am going into this room with Angelo and I am not leaving until Jesus comes to get him. I will not leave him in Doctor’s hands, nurses’ hands, or family member’s hands, ABLE HANDS are required.” I sat everyday waiting for the Master to come. Thank God for Tiana, Ben, Skye, and others for being present. It was my assignment and my commitment that I aimed to keep. Why we first received the news that Angelo had cancer, we cleared the room. I said to him, “I cannot change anything about this cancer stuff, nor can I take it away. I can promise you that I will be here with you every step of the way.” With peace in my heart, I can say that I kept my word. The other day, I went to his bedside and held his hand. We witnessed an exchange from life on this side, to life on the other side. We watched him close his eyes on this side and yet open them on the other side. Above and beyond all of that, I felt a gentle tug and Angelo released my hand and grab the Lord’s hand. I didn’t fight it because I knew HE was coming to get him.

One day prior to Angelo’s departure, we made a ceramic mold of us holding hands. I named it, UNBREAKABLE BOND!! I recognize that the only hands better than mine can only belong to the Lord.  


The BEST HANDS I know of, are the HANDS OF JESUS!!




Add yours →

  1. Wow an amazing story and journey thanks for allowing us a seat to watch greatness at its best

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. It’s been one heck of a ride but nobody said the road would be easy. You probably will never know the extent of how you and Angelo have helped many people stay encouraged. I appreciate the Unconditional Faith you have shown. I pray that God gives you the strength that you need during this difficult time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To God be the glory. This unshakable n unbreakable bond. Give him back the father that gave him to you only for a lil while and what a great while that was. Thankful for the memories made and the bond formed.


  4. I admire your commitment to Angelo. You have done a valiant job as a caregiver and father. May the many memories you created with your son carry you from day to day. #unbreakable

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was the most heartfelt piece that I’ve had the pleasure of reading of yours, Wilford. Thank you for this vivid account of the last hours of your “abled hands” with Angelo. My life has personally been touched, transformed and renewed by your heroic documentaries the both of have shared over the last few years. You brilliantly showed the world how Angelo kicked the hell out of cancer and challenged the world to not feel sorry or complain..!! Thank you for being a beacon of light and hope to do many of us mortal human beings. I love you and thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, wow, wow…. thank God for your son and you… you all journey together makes me re-evaluate life and death. To God be the glory and may he continue to bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amazing writing my brother!!! What a gift you have!! I’ve been praying for you… A lot lately.. and I know in my heart of hearts that GOD will sustain you! Keep sharing your thoughts and life… You are saving people’s lives!!!! Thank you for being selfless in sharing your beautiful journey with your fabulous son Angelo….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The strength from your son, the power in you being an amazing father..God has put a father and son together for an ever lasting bond. The words you speak the thoughts of your writing is simply Amazing. .Thank you for sharing, my life is forever changed because of Angelo. Angelo will be in our hearts forever, he put up a great fight. .Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am at work reading this passage and I can only shake my head at the beauty of this story, this struggle, this strength like no other. I miss him. I miss his ‘comeback’ adventures. My heart grieves that he is no longer on this side but I find joy knowing that you and his family are fully aware that he is present and in ABLE HANDS with the Master.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We serve an awesome GOD! And I, so thank Him for this beautiful bond and relationship between this father and his son! What a memorial when a biological father and caregiver has linked and molded together his natural hands with that of his beloved son’s hands as a tribute of their bond in love before his departure to be with his Heavenly Father!

    My heart is overwhelmed within me for such love; and it is in tears that I say in memory of Bro. Angelo Wilford our Warrior of the Faith! “Rest in peace thou Mighty Man of Valor! Rest now because your labor is done. And you and your Dad shall be forever linked together the capable hands of our Heavenly Father who loves you both unconditionally!

    Thank you Pastor Wilford for sharing this with us may the LORD our God continue to strengthen you and keep you and Angelo connected in the realm of the Spirit with His able and protective hands of LOVE! πŸ™‚


  11. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for sharing your AMAZING son with us all. Continued prayers for you and your family. πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My God, my God! Pastor you eloquently described your last dance with your son…Instead of His illness tapping you on your shoulder to cut in, His Heavenly Father tapped you and said, may I have this dance? You knew His voice, you trusted His words and you gently placed Angelo’s hand in the only hand that you knew you could trust to take care of your Baby Boy…. My God, my God….
    (Oh my God…I can’t stop crying to tell you what God put on my heart to say to you!). I am in continuous prayer for you and your family…such a beautiful dance…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Renee Knott-Freeman December 19, 2016 — 7:37 pm

    You are such a proficient writer…the way you tell the story you bring the reader right into the story and on your journey. I am so honored that you allowed us to share in this experience with you. May God continue to hold your hand and keep your & his bond “unbreakable”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. You Kept You Word! I Hope you know how Powerful a Statement that meant to Angelo, cause somehow, after reading the Entire Story, That stuck out for Me! So many of our children, including myself, haven’t had that Person that Parent…who Kept their Word! I’m Happy you were able to! I’m not sure why everytime you guys had an Event, my schedule did Not permit me to Attend but, I feel as though I’ve been apart of this Journey even so! I knew of Angelo before I knew of Richard, my daughter attended IU with him, so she explained to me what he was going through, long ago. So, I’ve watched him from afar, and witnessed his Strength. I’m Praying you Richard, are just as Strong as He!
    I haven’t worn this particular shoe, so I can’t say what I would do, but, I sure as Hell hope that I can Keep My Word like You!
    You’ve Showed incredible Tenacity in this Journey, I’m Very Proud of You! God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Kris Peterson-Barnes December 19, 2016 — 10:24 pm

    I’m in awe of your ability to put your experience into words. Bless your soul! I’m still praying for you two!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Tears, knowing how difficult it was for you.
    Pride, watching you do it with true dignity
    You will always be his dad…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is an awesome testimony for a father to share with other people. The vulnerability, the courage and transparency you penned shows us not only did you and God make an exchange of Angelo’s hand; Angelo and God made an exchange with your hand as well. You kept your word with Angelo and now God is keeping his Word with you. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us. Grace and peace

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Beautiful and wonderfully said may Jesus continue to give you all peace that passes all understanding glory be to Jesus blessings to you beyond measures Endorsed by Rita Caston

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Awesomeness!! You have truly touched my heart during this journey! GOD bless you and may HE continue to shine HIS face upon you!


  20. Sandra wilkins-sablack December 20, 2016 — 10:34 am

    This was the most heartfelt story I’ve ever read. My prayers will always be with you and your family, God continue to bless you all❀❀❀❀❀❀❀

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Just amazing


  22. This is absolutely amazing. I have watched this journey and I’m telling you I always come away feeling inspired and knowing that God’s grace really is sufficient…

    Liked by 1 person

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