This weekend my parent's were in Wisconsin again. It was wonderful to see them and the little one had a blast charming his grandparents. However, their visit was not all in fun.
We lost a dear family friend last week and Saturday was her memorial service. She and her husband were like a local aunt and uncle for me and my sister's growing up. Our biological ones were all out of state, but these two were able to fill in. They didn't have children so they spoiled us, treated us like adults and disciplined us like we were their own depending on what we needed at the time. She fought cancer for almost two years after having been told she only had months or maybe weeks to live when she was diagnosed. Her diagnosis came the week of our wedding and now she has passed at only 49.
Three weeks ago my mom came up and we went to see her one last time. She was on heavy medications and we only had a few moments here and there when she was lucid. When she was with us she was so much like herself. She was sharp, funny, and pointed. She talked about things that had happened recently (like her visit to Kentucky in July) and things from my childhood. She was yellow, swollen, and not eating or drinking. For me it was an experience I'll never forget and I'm grateful that we got to spend time with her.
The biggest challenge for me is how to reach out to her husband. He is a outdoorsman who learned how to be an amazing nurse to his wife. He expected to have 30 more years with her and that he would go first (he's 9 years older). He spends his time welding, hunting, and fishing. Suddenly he was having to administer 4 different pain meds, run IVs, and watch his wife as she slipped further and further from him. She died on their couch while he slept a few feet from her. He now has to cope with being alone.
We do not live close and my husband has only met him once. They have almost nothing in common. I've never called this gentleman out of the blue before. However, I can't help but feel a desire to spend time with him now. I want to be there for him if he needs us as my parent's live so far away. He has lots of friends and some family in the area. I know that he has a full life and that many people will be watching over him. I think that my way of coping may be that I want to help him feel cared about. It is something I've been thinking about and will be continuing to figure out. How can I best serve him and be there for him? What will be helpful to him and what would just be for my own benefit?
Loss is so hard. We are grateful for the time she had and that the 'bad' part really only lasted about 3-4 weeks. She was not in pain and didn't suffer. She is now in a place where she can do all those things that she loved again.
I'm grateful that she was in my life and that I got to say goodbye. I'm grateful for the lessons she taught me. Life is short and you never know what the next day, week or month will bring. Stop complaining and just enjoy where you are. Make a difference in other people's lives. Spend time doing things you love with people you love. Collect things you love; collect lots of them if it makes you happy. Speak your mind. Sing like there is no one else in the car. It is okay to be a woman who has a strong opinion and doesn't back down. Not everyone will like you and that is perfectly fine. Sometimes friendships end, but hold onto the friendships that mean something to you. Marry the person who is right for you no matter how different you are. Be yourself until the very end.
Thank you M. for teachin me so much.
More grateful people over at Heavenly Homemakers.