Dear one,

I met you about 5 years ago.  I learned that you were seriously into horses and had some very funny friends.  You liked to sing and you were carefree.  When I met you, you had just come out of your son’s illness and things were still challenging.  Before he got sick, you suffered from cancer while your husband was away in Afghanistan.  I didn’t know you then, but I imagine going through that made you strong and taught you things about the value of life.

We never really became “great” friends; your interests were different than my own, and I just didn’t seem to fit…I loved it when your mother visited.  My mother would be roughly the same age if she were living….your mother is a saint and I have enjoyed her company immensely.  I have enjoyed the association I have had with her over the years.

Now you lay in a hospital bed with little time remaining on this earth.  This makes me very sad.  Your cancer returned and while you went through all the treatment to eradicate it, it would not be expunged.  Then, with an infection in your leg, things did not look good and you took a turn for the worse.  I was so sad.  Losing you would send a shock wave through Pella, and beyond.  So many people will be affected by your loss.

So many people have been affected by your fight, too. Your valiant efforts to try to overcome the illness showed all of us the value of life that perhaps we didn’t consider before.

I have had many experiences in my life that have felt like the loss of death.  Both my mother and my sister died when I was in my late teens.  Then, years later, I “lost” my children in a custody case. No details are warranted here, this is your post, but because all these painful things happened, I found myself living life a little differently than others.

With you so sick, and near the portal of death, I again find myself re-examining the life we all live.  Eating a salad after visiting you, I thought, you would never eat a salad again. Massaging your hands with cream and looking at your once busy fingers with one project or another, I thought of the projects that will now lie still, finished or not. The horses are in the corral or in their stalls wondering where you are with your special love for them.  The fruit trees you lovingly encouraged to grow, will now have to grow without your tender care. They will bear the fruit you encouraged to grow.

I know so little of this last year of your life…but I know that you tried to make quilts, hats, scarves and all kinds of things for all your children that they would be able to wrap them around themselves and feel your love for them in the future when you could not be there in person for them.  This will be the greatest loss for your children. Not being there for graduation, marriage, grandchildren…They will always remember and dream what it would have been like for you to be there sharing in those parts of their lives.

Trust me, they will never forget.

So, my purpose in writing you is to thank you for the unintended reminder that life is far more than horses, quilts and scarves…it is about people and how we leave them each day, for better or worse, because life is not a guarantee.  From one moment to the next we just don’t know what will happen.  With you lingering on the fine line between time and eternity, I would like to thank you for your life. I have learned so much from you, even at a distance. Most especially, I have learned that earth life is fragile and tenuous and we must treasure it not for what is coming or for what has been, but for what it is right at the moment.

I am hoping to see you off on your journey, but I know that it is a sacred time and that your family may not want anyone extra there.  I understand that.

God bless you, my friend. You have been such a great blessing for me.