Monday, July 30, 2012

Who are you?

I went to Can-Do's memorial service this morning. Its the first funeral service I have attended for a hospice patient.  I held myself together well last week when I visited my other friend at the same facility.  But this morning I rather predictably lost it.

It was a very small service.  All but one of her 5 children where there I think.   And this is what I learned.

She loved her children and her grandchildren A LOT.  She was a devoted and supportive mother. She was, indeed, southern. She was a pastor's wife! she loved to throw her grandkids a Christmas party every year and she wrote them all a letter and gave them something of some meaning with each letter.  Her email address was "angelsong" and she apparently had a set of pipes that was to be envied.  She was in fact a teacher, a sunday school teacher, and Christian school teacher and was always very encouraging, which hearkens back to the can-do spirit.  She got an AA degree when she was 58.  And she prayed about everything...even finding parking spots.

Its funny to me that  even though I only knew her in her redefined, somewhat disabled state, that so much of that came through in my short visits with her.  I knew almost all of those things instinctively.  She had many pictures of her grandchildren displayed.  She loved giving me treats to take home to my kids and she seemed to really love the holidays.  Early in our visits I asked her about her faith and I got a story with the can-dos....she drew her hand across her mouth, and she arranged things in the air in front of her and because it seemed an involved answer, I was pretty sure that she was a woman of faith. 

Her family described a woman that I felt like I actually knew, even though I only knew her for a short time. 

It was a lovely service.  I was particularly drawn to her grand daughter, who was really emotional.  She also had fabulous taste in shoes and a stunning purse but she sobbed the whole service.  She spoke about her grandmother as her best friend, and they spent a lot of time together.  She was the grandmother I always wanted to have, truthfully.   Another granddaughter read a Christmas letter from her grandmother from 2001.  It referenced 9/11, and it was fascinating to hear words read in Can-do's own "voice".  It validated all of my feelings about her.

You know the old church song "They will know we are Christians by our love"?  Well that should be Can-do's theme...She couldn't tell me a thing about her. But all of those things that her family knew shone through in her demeanor every time I saw her.  Those were the things that made her HER, and even when her ability to speak and do much for herself was stripped away, I still knew who she was at her core.

Who are you at your core? what would shine through in you?

That's what I'm asking myself today...

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