Of late I have taken little time to notice the dancers in bejeweled leaves stepping up to join the flounced roses who flit merrily in the gardens on the autumn breezes we welcome so eagerly.
Surely the change did not take place overnight . . . but then, the nights have been long around here . . .
Another wave of sadness has washed over our family, as our dear friend Susan (sister to my sweet, sweet friend Lily) has gone to be with the Lord.
(left to right: Susan, Lily, Lydia)
A brain hemorrhage has quickly taken another of our loved ones home to be with the Lord.
Though we have only known Susan for the past year, it has been a sweet, sweet friendship. Susan suffered from Alzheimer’s. When her husband passed away last November she came from Honolulu, HI to live with her younger sister Lily and her husband Chef Karl. Throughout the year we have celebrated at table with them. Each time we gathered, Susan “met” us for the first time and had a delightful time getting to know us.
This past Labor day (as I shared earlier), we congregated around the BBQ once again. Much to our delight Susan remarked that she remembered being here before. She also remembered Rachel. What a delight! What a gift to see that we had opened a tiny crack in her memory and slipped in to stay. We celebrated with an extra measure of joy that day, which proved to be our last gathering together.
Susan’s sudden departure has left all of us numb. We lost someone special who bestowed a special gift upon us. My children have had the honor of growing up around all different sorts of people with all different levels and abilities. The special needs of my boys have naturally made us a fertile meeting place for many who endure hardships and obstacles in this world given over to averages, statistics, and “typical.” As the experts count and quantify “normal,” we gently recede to the edges and lay out a picnic in the meadow, choosing to dine with delight on what we have been chosen to receive. Many other travelers join us for refreshment along life’s winding way. The World generally classifies us as “burdened,” but those who stop and join us for a spell see gifts rather than yokes, laughter rather tears. That little “extra” something we deal with sparkles into extra-ordinary – lifting us above the fray when we choose to rejoice rather than sulk.
Tears surely fall today . . . emotions run high in a typical week around Wisteria Cottage, and this past week or so has been A-typical, to be certain. Tears of joy slip down as we see Grandma/Gloria grow stronger each day without a single sign of handicap emerging in the aftermath of the meningitis. Later, a tear of sorrow wends its way down my cheek as I think of Susan and her sweet invites to come see her in Honolulu – she never realized she had left Honolulu to live in Grass Valley. Gary smiled and noted that she lived on vacation every day – what a great way to live!
I think I shall tuck that little bit of memory in my heart and strive to live every day on vacation. Worry wart that I am, I need a dose of Honolulu now and again – Susan always obliged with a grin topped by dancing eyes as she told me about her beautiful Hawaiian home. I shall savor recollections of her smiling face, compliments on my garden (she said it reminded her of her growing up years in Taiwan when they lived in a lush landscape), and sweet moments with my family. Though her short-term memory leaked like a sieve, her long-term memory shared stories of growing up in China with delightful tales of her parents’ match-made romance, attendance at catholic schools and its awful food, moving to America, and so much more told with laughter and joy. She lived a wonderfully exciting life and God let her keep those happy memories from long ago. We made new memories with Susan that she couldn’t hold onto . . .
but we could, and we cherish them.
She blessed us with such sweet gifts.