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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goodbyes still live on...

It was towards the end of April this past spring that my mother took me to visit her Aunt in the nursing home in Caldwell Idaho. My father-in-law still lives in Caldwell and his wife Teresa invited me to help her setup the gardens and let our dogs play together once or twice a week. I was in the middle of getting ready to move, dog-sitting and really wanting to garden. So it was a wonderful spring to help out my second mother-in-law Teresa. When I was house sitting in Caldwell for a week then I was able to see my great aunt several times. What I loved about seeing her was how spunky she was! Great Aunt Mary Evelyn was almost 88 years old and lost the control of her legs, in the nursing home she had pictures of the Oregon Coast and places she had lived there. As a mother of almost a dozen kids, she lived a very tough life without the support of her spouse. I grew up on the farm where she came by every week to see her brothers and visit. She also loved gardening and playing the piano. In fact she gave piano lessons in the small town of Homedale. I didn't stick to those piano lessons because I noticed when my mother took my siblings to their piano lessons to see Aunt Mary Evelyn, the whole house was quite and I got to just be there in the peacefulness. Mary Evelyn told me memories and stories when I visited with her this past spring and early summer in her nursing home bedroom. I would go and sit with her for the afternoon laughing and chatting, she loved all my flowers and we talked so much about gardening, for she knew everything about it! I also was struck by how much she looked like her brother my Grandpa Ansel, they had the same chin line, nose and eyes. I would help rub her feet while we talked about the news or the beauty of the ocean. When she would cry I would hug her and cry too.....seeing my aunt come to the end of her life was both sad and peaceful as she said that she had lived a rich full life. It always made me chuckle or smile at Mary Evelyn's clever comments about the people around her or how she liked her privacy. On those afternoons when we talked about my Grandpa and her, or about the orchard farm and of where the family is now.....I thought to myself that we never really say Goodbye when these people who have gone, are still remembered!

It was a warm early summer afternoon as I slipped into Aunt Mary Evelyn's room to instantly feel death was there.... I know death becomes I have seen it face to face as it claims the souls of the people I love often......Once again it was here in her room, hoovering over her bed like a shadow. I felt instantly shaky, I took her hand and watched her breathing heavily. I whispered "Sleep well my dear." then silent tears slid down my cheeks. I stared a long moment at the blank wall thinking of how GRIM stood there, he wasn't being mean. He just came to claim her soul and move on into the next world. I was shaking because I was so sad but I was also wondering why did I feel it was very important to see her that day? When the nurse told me that Mary Evelyn might not live to the weekend I really cried on the way home. Death comes to us in many ways, sometimes it is nice to have someone hold our hand as we leave on that journey.....

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