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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I found you again......

              When I asked my dearest friend Molly over coffee last winter as we reminisced about our shared past, "I wonder what ever happened to Allen Bonnell, I am afraid to ask...." Molly had been sharing all about her upcoming wedding which sparked my question as they were getting married in the beautiful backyard of her parents house right across the street from where Allen and Helen had lived while I grew up cleaning their house once a week. 
She chuckled saying back in wonder to me "I have no idea, and HE was super old when I was little!?! I think I saw him driving by once not to long ago? I thought "WOW! he is STILL alive and he's safe to drive?!? I am not sure if he still lives there now though..." I laughed and nodded thinking about how old Allen was when I first met him "Maybe I should find out what happened to him yet I afraid to really know too, although I feel like if he had passed away I would of heard about it."

Her wedding was unfolding, bursting through the dark green grass as many people gathered around,  with those huge vases of white daisies and the soft sound of the water fountain moving down the rocks behind us I was truly happy for my beautiful friend, for her beautiful day! 
I was grateful for our shared lives and supportive "sisterhood" to each other too, I was in awe to be alive for this moment in time!
Oh how I took it all in, with that joyful celebration in time, full of hugs, smiles and chit chatting, like old times yet even better with so much more to offer in being apart of the future! It made me step back in awe of all things connected for a magical perfect August day!

Then I saw my dear friends, parents of my beloved friend Rebekah of whom I admired and adore growing up, they looked so good as the young grandparents that they are now, and it was in this moment of happiness through hugs and connection that I learned about Allen Bonnell. He was settled into the VA home of Boise only 10 minuets from my own home. 
And I knew in my heart this was the moment I had been waiting for, in true excitement I wrote it all down right after talking to them, because I didn't want to also made me frustrated that the next free day I would have was 2 weeks out, I hate when my life gets busy like that, I still arrived at the VA home to sit awhile with him knowing I need to cancel out some things going on in my life in order to be there more with him in the future.

It had been 14 years, he had re-married and seemed so happy with his new spitfire wife. I had been packing up to move from Caldwell to Boise, He was quick in judgement with me about my choice in getting married and not going to church anymore so we naturally went our own ways, in our last visit I just knew we both had different lives to live. Yet I will always thought of him as my adopted Grandpa. 
I had been good friends with his first wife Helen, whose bad health and elderly age was why they hired me to clean house once a week for them back when I was 12 years old. I will always love them as my own family if not a bit more for they took me out of my crazy home once a week, to spend the whole day with them in cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping, I would help put old pictures in photo albums, dust collectibles, wash windows and mow the yard, I decorated their Christmas tree exactly the way Helen wanted done. I would simply live with them for one whole day each week while I grew up, I would also spend a week in the summer with them camping in their RV or be helping them with food trays at Church camp. They were my friends, not just like grandparents......I spent so much time with them whenever I could!
I even hosted a surprise party for their 4oth anniversary at our church fellowship hall, (It was one of my first big events to decorate with old pictures and buy lots of cake!)
I loved them both so much!
They were a big part of my life while I was growing up.

Cleaning house for them was like entering a magical world for me! It was like an episode from 
 "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood." where I was able to take a walk to the homes next door of families from our shared church! My beloved girl friends Tiffany and Rebekah would join me for that evening walk, young high school girls arm in arm giggling and sharing stories! Sometimes Allen would pick us all up on the road where we walked saying "It's dinner time!" in his always cheerful way then the five of us would enjoy the truck stop foods and banana cream pie! He and Helen would listen to all of us girls talking at once with delight and interest they always made us feel like family whenever we were together!

Maybe it's fact that time holds still for no one, not ever. 

Maybe it's the awe I felt when I heard Allen was still alive, my heart has been feeling an urgency. 

Maybe it's all the flashbacks I am noticing, triggered by reminiscing with Allen once again....lately I have been trying to capture it ALL.....I want to hold time forever still in my mind's eye and embrace the good times even more and more then ever before! I live in wonder of my magical life every single day and looking back I realized how good it was to have Friends like Allen and Helen Bonnell!  They were such a big part of my rescuing, of my ideas in what makes a good marriage and a good life together as friends. I get my sense of time running out and needing to stay focus on what's important to me from having them in my heart always!

Then I remember again something they taught me that I had forgotten; 

          While we ate dinner in their home on Lonkey Lane, the sunset was bright through the windows I shared with them all about my new job, the little dramas and the new little things that I do. 
I was 18 years old knowing that Helen wasn't really there as I talked. she was dying and in the sad eyes of Allen as he listened to my energized stories, I watched her carefully knowing he needed to step away from caring over her. I would talk as if I spoke to them both like it was just any ol' day in our lives, he would come back from a daze while eating and worrying about his wife who wasn't acting quite right all day long he would reply to me as I jabbered on and on in the way I do especially when I am nervous, I like hearing Allen say "If that don't beat all." and "You are smarter then the whole lot of them! Don't forget that!" 
He loved having me there, he kept saying so even as he went out to his shop to change the oil in his car. I tried to get Helen to take a bite of food, I wiped her distant looking face and I knew some how in my aching heart, I just knew this was our last meal with the 3 of us like old times.....
For all years that we spent our Wednesdays or Thursdays together, I knew on this warm bright orange evening it will be the last of us 3.
  For Helen sat in her chair not responding, not really there anymore. Her curly gray hair and thick eye glasses made me feel like she should speak up in her protest or opinions, Allen always teased her and she always teased back in a bit more of spunk that he loved to see! 
I had grown to love and to know word for word what she will say next, so now that she was speaking I missed her repeated stories and memories.   
The evening turned cold instantly as I took an evening walk after doing the dishes in my own tears and thoughts I wanted to get out of the house desperately but then before I hit my usual trail I had a feeling or heard a voice say "Debby stop, don't leave her alone, she is dying right now! Go, go, go,...Now!" As I ran back to her side sliding to my knees by her chair exclaiming "Helen! Helen Honey, I'm here...I'm here, Oooh how I'm going to miss you! and I love you so!" I broke out into song, I didn't know what else to do but sing.
Her hand in mine, she breathed her very last breath as the tears poured down my cheeks I kept singing until the whole song was over.  
Allen stood there behind me listening and crying too, the neighbors all came over after, family and friends, everyone arrived into the long night of activities and tears, as I realized then and there nothing will ever be the same again. I was now an adult, with that "ah ha" moment that being with her was the right decision to make. 

           Last month on the first Thursday of September I walked into the VA home and found Allen Bonnell, I simply pulled up a chair and poured a cup of coffee asking "How are ya'll doing? It's a BEAUTIFUL sunny, warm day out there isn't it?" Allen was almost done with his lunch smiling at me and his eyes grew big as he said "I know you, I know you, don't I?" I nodded and hugged him naturally, sitting calmly, simply sharing with those around the table just how we know each other. I didn't want to be to loud or to excited, I just wanted him to feel at ease with me, because he may not recognize me and I didn't want to upset him at all. 
Allen seemed impressed listening to me as I shared on with a big smile ".....So really Allen and I go WAY back, don't we?" He nodded both in tears and in smiles, "You are Debby Klein, and I DO know you! Isn't that the dickens!...but I might forget who you are too, I do that I forget people I should know." I laughed and nodded "I don't mind if you remember or not, we are friends no matter what! That's all ya have to know right? Or you can also ask me anything, I have a really good memory right now, for we sure had some fun times, didn't we?!?" He shared with me how the last 10 years brought so much change for him....that afternoon reconnecting and laughing together like that, truly made me feel like I could walk on the clouds in the bright blue sky! 

...and so I will go as much as I can now, to just sit beside him in his room or listen to live music. Last Friday we strolled through the rose garden and watched the squirrels play in the fall leaves everywhere....He complained how no one lets him go outside without an assistant saying "Imagine that I have lived this long only to be told I can roll outside whenever I wish to! Well isn't that somethin'???"  I strolled out with him slowly, talking the whole time back and forth as he asked "Is this chair to heavy to push for ya?" I said nope not at all because my mother's chair is much heavier for me and then we were on to topic of what makes a good wheel chair! 

I am in awe of my life connecting once again to him, my dear friend Allen! 
I am so deeply grateful to God and to all the wonders of the world that is our life stories!

In our first meeting he showed me his room with pictures and a few of his favorite things....
   I stated in true delighted joy "I just can't believe that I found ya, thanks to Kathy Zobel for sharing with me where you are now, and really, I don't live that far away so I can pop over any time!"
He replied back with a smirk "Oh yes Kathy is wonderful, her and Ken are the best kind of people! ....and I can't believe I am still alive at 92 years old! Isn't THAT somethin' ???" 
I laughed and hugged him again asking "Didn't your Mom live over 100 years? So you could still have another decade maybe?....I am just so happy that I found you again!" 

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