Saying Goodbye To My Friend - I'll See You When I Look At You!

2015 my focus, my word, was PURPOSE.

That led me to volunteering for Meals On Wheels.

That led me to Florence's front door.

It didn't take long for us to become friends, and it has been clear to me that a large part of my 'purpose' these last 365 days, was to be here for my friend for her last 365 days.

As I sat in the ICU on Monday, talking to Florence and holding her hand, teasing and telling her about my day, I also tried to comfort her.  She hates hospitals!  I started to cry and felt silly when the nurse asked me how long we've know each other.  It has only been a year.

Still as it was time for me to go, I felt it would be my last moments with her.  I held her hand, stroked her hair, kissed her head, told her that I love her so much, and that I would 'see her when I look at her'...  I couldn't stop my tears... all the way home.

Anyone who has a really good friend, and I hope everyone has at least one, knows that it doesn't take long to bond and feel like you have known each other forever.  I feel like she and I have known each other for forever.

This past year started with compliments, then flowers, then visits, stories and stories, errands, laughter, some tears, some hard days.  Our friendship deepened as my family got to know Grandma Florence.  We paid her visits, prayed for her, I froze meals for her, we took care of her yard for a bit, then there were doctors visits and appointments, cleaning the blood from her carpet, after she fell.  There was her hospital visit this fall, more tears, more really hard days, near death experiences!  She has fought so hard and that recovery was torture for her.

She finally came out of that cloud.  I saw her several times in December.  The kids and I went to see her twice in December, the last time on Christmas day.  I told her next year we would get her Christmas stuff out and decorate her house.  I can't believe I hadn't thought of that for this year.

This was her email to us:

I am so happy that you stopped for a nice visit.. Thank you and

hope had fun the rest of the day…My 4 grandchildren made my day!!! and my daughter too:-)

AND the chili wasn’t bad either!! I loved it..Enjoy your gifts.Say hello to your father for me.

and wish all the best also…Love, Grandma Florence xoxoxoxoxo

I regret that I didn't get over there to see her the week of New Year's.  I may always regret that.  I only talked with her on the phone briefly.

Sunday is when her body was done.  She was able to hold on until Wednesday, when her son could be here.

I knew it was coming.  I've anticipated it for a while.  90 years is a long time for our bodies to live!

Still it hurts.  Still saying goodbye is hard.  I still feel the pain of loss.  I will miss my friend.

My kids cried and cried when I told them the news.  After we talked and cried for a bit we all went our separate ways.  O went up to cry some more.  I snuggled my boy and asked him what hurt the most.  His answer was that we wouldn't be able to see her anymore.  And, even though we get to see each other in Heaven, it's such a long time to wait.

All I could do was agree.  Sometimes it feels like forever.

I love my kids for loving Grandma Florence.  I love them for caring for her.  I love them for giving her something in her 90th year of life, that she had never yet experienced... grandkids.

I love her for caring for them, for being interested in them, for asking about them, for lighting up when she saw their faces.

I have treasured this past year.  I feel special and honored to have given service to our grammy.  I feel blessed that this woman has let me into her heart.  I will treasure always that I could hold her when she cried and reassure her she wasn't alone.

I have learned about life.  I have learned about love.  I have learned about charity and selflessness.

These past 365 days have been such a blessing in my life and I hope they have brought joy to hers.

I am confident I will see her again and it will be a joyful reunion.  That brings great peace to my heart.

So, my friend Florence... I'll see you when I look at you!