"She taught me how to live and how to die"

Last night I was told I had a new grandson, my second. Only one son has produced any offspring as yet, so now there is Daniel Stephen 4 and Aiden Christopher 1 day old. I will probably go to visit them this summer.

I went to the memorial service this morning for the woman who died of cancer on Valentine’s Day. The church was packed, standing room only and not only that there were two other services  that were being held simultaneously in Kelowna and Cassier also. She had planned her memorial before she died and she had wanted some toe-tapping music and just an up beat memorial. It was not sad at all.

A few things that impressed me were how many children stood up and spoke about how she had affected their lives while she was working as a cook in the school. Amongst them was a little girl about 8 years and two teenage boys, who we know have a lot of difficulty getting up in a crowd, but they all said that they felt she had impacted them and they will always remember her smile and her kindness.

I think the most impacting thing for me was when her caregiver got up and testified that over the last year  she watched the decline of P but the main thing she learned she said was, “She taught me how to live and she taught me how to die”.

The local nurse who had spent many hours with P this last year and especially the last few hours of P’s  life in her home said P was so full of joy and peace that it was amazing to see. That P never complained and that she knew she was suffering, but P always had a smile for everyone. What a testimony to the human spirit. The nurse said she felt that as P’s body was getting weaker and weaker her spirit was getting stronger and stronger and it was one of the most uplifting experiences to be by P’s bedside as she slipped into eternity.

Life goes on though doesn’t it, one day it will be our turn to die. I hope  I will be able to do it with as much grace as P did.

5 Responses

  1. A very good friend of mine from childhood died back in 1988 of cancer of the jaw. The same age as me, he was 44 when he died, leaving his wife and three children -ages 9, 12 and 16. He was one really terrific guy -I had a crush on him for at least 10 years when we were in school. (LOL) But he was like a brother to me too – just a great friend throughout my life. The 10 months after he was diagnosed, the surgeries, etc., had virtually the entire village praying for him, hoping beyond hope you know, that somehow, something would happen and turn this all around. And when the end came, at the funeral mass, there was standing room only! At the viewing the night before, people streamed into the funeral home non-stop from 2 in the afternoon until the home closed around 9:30-10 p.m. It really made me feel good (kind of a strange word to use there but I think you know what I mean) to see so many people who had known him, liked him so well and made for a very fitting tribute.
    The summer before he died, my son had some “issues” and our pastor suggested perhaps Clayton would consider talking to “D” as he admired the guy so much. “D” upbringing was much like mine in that his Dad died quite young and the thought was perhaps he could talk to Clate, help him to put some things in perspective -and also, it was our Pastor’s thought that maybe it might even help make him feel a bit more useful. I worried that it might be to much on him but called, explained the situation and asked if he would be willing to talk to my son. His answer was an emphatic YES! I had wanted to go talk to him myself but hesitated because though we’d been good friends for so many years, we’d never been the kind who “visited” and it worried me that my doing that, since it would have been off our beaten path, it would have been obvious I was coming to say goodbye. But the day my son went there, when I left for work that day, my son was still there so I stopped then, on the premise that I wanted his opinions on the things Clate was dealing with. It was something that gave both of us then the opportunity to talk a bit, and yes, to say goodbye.
    It will be 20 years come September since he died and it took be many of those years till I was finally able to talk about him without breaking into tears. Though I still miss him, his friendship, very much, his youngest son looks so much like him, sounds just like his dad, ACTS so much like him too, it is kind of scary at times when I see the son. For a long time, it bothered the boy that he had all those resemblances to his dad until his mother told me she was able to point out to him that when people reacted to him, almost like they were hearing and seeing the ghost of his dad, that it was a good thing and something to hold onto with pride. Everytime I see “D Jr” it always makes me feel that his Dad is still here with us after all. Some people really do make such imprints on our lives, don’t they? And it sounds to me like your friend was one very much like “D” was for me -and for many others in the local community.

  2. What a touching story. You have a true talent for writing Vic. Your posts always touch my emotions – thank you for taking the time to do that.

  3. A hope that I too share Vic Grace, thanks for reminding us that it is possible.

  4. That was a wonderfull tribute.Thank you for sharing.

  5. I love your grandson’s name. My son is named Aidan, but with an “a” not an “e”.

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