Tuesday, March 8, 2016

My sweet friend.....

I lost a long time client on Sunday. I am so sad and will really miss her. I had been with this remarkable woman for the past 6 years. She lived a long and amazing life and this was just her time. No tragedy, no drama, it was just her time. She had a beautiful passing.....awake and talking, eating a yummy breakfast of ice cream with hot chocolate pudding over the top (we were always trying to fatten her up) and while her daughter was out for a run, she sat in her "big comfy chair" and closed her eyes and was gone. With her dignity in tact, in her safe place, surrounded by her own things and knowing that the family who loved her so so much, would be in soon to check on her. 

I have been thinking of the past couple weeks with my sweet friend....things were changing, she was having struggles that were not her norm, but it seems that when someone is getting ready to leave this earth, there are signals. Not just physical signals, but relational and emotional signals. Her daughter who is a super achiever of the highest order (that is said with deep admiration) had times, due to her mom's needs changing, that forced her to slow down and just be present with her. She told me she spent some time just sitting with her and holding her. She was making her all the things she liked to eat, she had come into a place of accepting her moms decline and doing whatever she could to just be with her where she was at and help her to be comfortable as she made her way forward. Not rallying her to get better, or stronger, or more hydrated.....just allowing her to be in charge. It was a beautiful proces to watch....giving her mom the dignity to call her own shots. 

As her caregiver, I too had some similar experiences. We had just finished reading a wonderful book that we both so enjoyed about a traveling nurse who went all over the Scottish Hebride islands taking care of the residents there. We met all sorts of interesting characters through that book. She helped me with pronunciations, we looked up terms we didn't know about....only to find the glossary at the end. Lol In my defense I was reading it on a kindle! 

On our visits, she would ask me the time and then check to see how much time we had left together....."Oh good! I don't want you to go!" On Friday, the last day I spent with her, I told her I loved her and sat with her holding her hand before I left....she told me she loved me too. Who knew that would be our last conversation? Oh I am so glad I told her. I didn't say that to her very often....but I did, I really truly had grown to love this amazing woman. 

We spent years talking and sharing some of the most wonderful conversations. She told me about one of her baby's being born and not able to tolerate formula. So she tried goats milk, and when it worked, she bought a milking goat. The baby thrived. Eventually she had a herd of milk goats and I heard about the little baby boy whose momma came to her, desperate to find a way to feed her son... My friend provided the goat milk and the boy flourished. She told me stories of her garden from years ago, of raising her kids, milling her own wheat, her love of books. Before that she had been a Navy Wave, and Japanese code breaker during WWII. I asked if she new Japanese and she said, "No, they just taught us." Like we were talking about how to fry an egg or something. She went on to be a fabulous seamstress and a grade school teacher once her time serving our country was over. 

She came from a different era....where complaining and saying you couldn't, or you didn't want to, or you didn't know how, wasn't an option. You did what needed to be done, and if you didn't know how, you figured it out. 

I am going to miss her so much. This noble, humble, friend of mine, who lived out her elderly years with grace and calm and peace thanks to her wonderful family who loved her so much. She told me once, "I have conversations with Jesus." I replied, "I do too!" She was so relieved that I understood. She told me that sometimes if she was home alone, she would forget what to do, and she would ask Jesus, and He would remind her step by step what to do first, then what to do next, to accomplish her goal. I absolutely have no doubt that this is so. That Jesus sat in her room with her day after day, bringing her immense comfort and company, speaking His truths to her heart as she was getting ready to go to meet Him. She loved Jesus and she loved hearing His word....the King James Version, which I could barely read out loud to her! 

She taught me how to make scones. She would sit at the kitchen table and I would add all of the ingredients and she would stir until her arm got tired and I would finish up. We experimented and made all sorts of good things together. Years ago we made baby blankets together for her new great grand children that had just arrived. We have had years of sharing part of our week with each other. I am happy for her that she has moved on, she is strong and vibrant once again and not bound by the constraints of age and this earthly body.....but I will miss her so much. My sweet friend who taught me so much, who listened to me as I found my way through my life, who understood so much of what I felt, who shared her own worries with me and we talked about putting them into Jesus' hands....she would say, "You're right! That is what I need to do! We can both do that." 
I've lost a dear friend. May God comfort all who knew her and keep fresh in our minds and hearts how blessed we all were to have had her in our lives for the time that we did. 

Always praying for us all.....


Birdie said...

We can become so connected to those we care for. I remember my instructor telling us that our purpose was to work ourselves out of a job. They will get better or they won't. Those who die leave us with a bittersweet legacy, don't they?
I am glad she had you to be her friend. xo

Lolly said...

Annette, this was a sweet and lovely tribute. It brought tears to my eyes. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your friend. Hugs to you friend.

Mark Goodson said...

Your friend sounds amazing Annette. Even when the signs are there, that can never make losing someone easier. My condolences. You are honoring her here and she is smiling for it.

Liz said...

She sounds like such a wonderful and amazing woman... I wish I could have known her... Annette, I'm so sorry for your loss.