A dear friend of mine went to the hospital for ‘routine’ surgery. On the operating table, they discovered her body was full of cancer. That was last Friday. Today is Monday. She is not expected to live past this evening.
And still, she smiles. She jokes. With a little less life, a little less breath, she smiles and she jokes as she tells the doctor to get back to work because she has nothing to do but wait for her eyes to close. She smiles because she knows when her eyes close what she will see when she opens them again.
I told her to tell Jesus that I want a yellow house, just like the one her and I and another friend use to go to for lunch and pie. Always pie. Always a la mode. Always. Sometimes we may not have wanted the soup or the sandwich (rarely), but always the pie. As you can sense, it was good pie. We always ordered two slices of pecan a la mode and one slice of sour cream and raisin a la mode. Warmed just a tad bit.
One day we went flower picking. Dahlias in bright pinks, yellows, reds, purples. Petals of practically every color of the rainbow greeted us as we pushed open the wooden gate to her friend’s backyard. A backyard of dahlias covered the bare dirt and stood up to six feet tall. She snipped and clipped blooms while I snapped pictures of every one I could. We laughed. We talked. It was one of the highlights of my life. A bright summer day.
I used to work in a church office. Someone received a bouquet of beautiful red roses and I had to deliver them to the recipient. How I wished they had been for me. As I rounded the corner going back to my office, my dear, dear, dear, dear friend was there. She was holding a green glass vase full of deep and light purple lilacs that she had clipped in her yard and brought to me. The fragrance seeped into my soul and refreshed my spirit. She was my angel that day. She loved flowers as much as I did.
She will be Home in a few hours. The angels must be setting the table as I write. They are probably humming as they go – excited by the near arrival of mydear friend. We who are left behind however, weep the loss of this saint. This one who frowned upon gossip and never said an unkind word about anyone. This one near 80 years old, who giggled like a little girl. This one who had the gift of encouragement and sent handmade cards regularly and often to cheer others up. This friend who, when there was a need, did what she could. This one I call dear. This one the Father calls Beloved.
I shiver when I look up into the sky and think this could be the moment when Christ is standing at the gate, welcoming her home in His arms. I thank my God that two weeks ago I made the time to sit with her while I was in hers state and share lunch. Her and our other dear friend. Just like old times. Two of my very favorite people. .
My dahlias are blooming. When I look at them I think of my friend. When I look at them from now on, I will remember her. Her smile, her spirit, her giggle, her generosity, and her ability to bring sunshine into the lives of so many others.
I will miss you so much, dear, sweet friend. But I know that someday I will see you again. And when I do, we’ll enjoy some ‘heavenly’ pecan pie – a la mode, of course. And the fellowship will be oh so sweet.