Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Has Fallen Upon Us

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.

Lily, thank you for sharing your sister with us this past year.
She blessed us with such sweet gifts.


Becky said...

So glad to hear about Gloria. We will continue our prayers for her.

And give Lily and extra hug from a stranger (me). I love the thought of living on vacation every day.

Tricia said...

I am so sorry for your loss, and yet glad to hear the good news for Gloria. One does not diminsh the other. They share side by side. Yes, I would guess emotions would be running high and tears flowing freely. Tears of joy and tears of sorrow.
I like how you put it, "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." I would like to think that characterizes our life as well. May God bless you this weekend. I am praying for you.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

It is hard to imagine the gamut of emotions you must be feeling. Thanksgiving for Gloria's recovery, which is truly answered prayer from all over the country. To sadness at the passing of your sweet friend, Susan. The sudden death makes us realize how tenuous our hold on this world really is. What a homecoming it will be when we all meet again those that have gone before us to be with God.

I was so moved by what you said about being viewed as burdened by the world and that your journey has made you see, "That little “extra” something we deal with sparkles into extra-ordinary – lifting us above the fray when we choose to rejoice rather than sulk." What a wonderfully positive attitude to have, and I am so glad to have met you! I feel blessed!

joanne said...

God Bless Susan as she is welcomed to her great reward and reunited with her husband again. She certainly lived an exciting and treasure filled life. What a blessing to have known her if only for such a short time and what a bigger Blessing yet that she did not suffer and linger as so many Alzheimer's patients do.
I am so glad to hear that Gloria is on the mend and continue to pray for her full recovery.
Praying also for all of you as this week winds up and a hopefully restful weekend. Take care sweet Deb...jj

kylie said...

worry wart you may be but you manage to find good in every situation and i admire your discipline.

i'm sorry for your loss and rejoice in the knowledge of reunion

sukipoet said...

wonderful that Gloria is recovering. And what a lovely memory of Susan you have created. So much sadness, yet beauty too. YES. live each day as if on vacation. I like that. a big hug, love, Suki

imbeingheldhostage said...

I'm so sorry for yours and Lily's loss. I'm sure Susan's life was richer for knowing you (and now her eyes are clear so that she can know you without that terrible illness clouding her memories). Blessings my friend,

Karen Deborah said...

Wow it has been a hard month for you all.
I am sorry.

For Susan I hope I am rejoicing, you didn't say if she is a believer or not. I think that knowing the long course of Alzheimers, the short course is better. Living on vacation now that is a good concept.

Gloria is a tough cookie and she's going to be alright, at least until her bills start rolling in! Then she may have a stroke.

We give thanks for life.

I am sorry you have had such a tough month!

As our dear dear friend would say, "But God," and sometimes those two words are just right, no more and no less.

FancyHorse said...

We see some subtle signs of fall even down here in the deep south! Longer nights, cooler mornings, a hint of yellow-gold in the leaves, goldenrod blooming. Soon the cotton will be ripe.

Susan was blessed to be surrounded by such loving friends and family in her last days, and it sounds like you all were blessed by her, too.

Flea said...

Such a beautiful mix of joy and sorrow. I'm guessing Susan's no longer shedding tears and enjoying a new body, waiting for her loved ones to come home to her. :)

Unknown said...

My dear friend. My heart is wrung for you. I have just read back posts as I haven't visited blogs in a month, but know that my compassion and prayers are with you with all these waves that are rocking your boat, His hand will hold you steady.

Full of Grace said...

I'm sorry for your sadness dear friend. I hope this next week brings you more joy :)

Werna Gail said...

I am amazed at how you always look on the brighter side of a situation
The Word tells us to be a "light in a dark world" and you truly are.
I would like to have your permission to use your picture of the buzzard in a collaged art book I am making. Let me know, ok?

Scrappy quilter said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. May God comfort you in your time of need. Hugs..