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Brrrng! Brrrng! It was my doorbell. I was still getting used to it, having just moved into my new home earlier in the day. Perhaps it was another neighbor come to welcome me. Several had already stepped by. After shelving the book in my study, I headed for the front door, still limping from recent knee surgeries.

“Why, is this my friend, Ms. Liz?” It was Ginny, her question brimming with playfulness, but her breathing, heavy. Then, supported by a cane, she was able to walk the distance between our homes. Perspiration dotted her wide forehead as she stepped inside and said, “O! You’ve already done wonders for this place—the creamy colors of the walls and the fireplace. I like the feel of it.” That was fourteen years ago.

For years, we enjoyed impromptu meetings in my front yard whenever she found me raking or gardening. Seated in her handicapped van cooled by the air conditioner, the motor idling, she regaled me with stories of her grandchildren, bemoaned garbled communication among specialists involved in her care, and detailed the side effects of the latest medication she was taking. Her laughter seemed to grow more hilarious with the darker stories.

Such laughter suggested a profound reliance upon her God that drew her into my heart. She had already tasted the dregs of life before I met her and was scraped clean. Humility was not just a word. She breathed it.

Even more humor merged with last year’s cancer diagnosis that squeaked sideways onto other chronic ailments. Subsequent phone contacts revealed her absolute trust in God’s will. With unstinting clarity she opted for hospice, the next step. When the drugs failed, however, she took her last breath surrounded by family. She was home.

In the wake of Ginny’s passing, I’m left with sadness and a paradoxically rich emptiness. I liken her spirit to four brash lilies eternally alive in the sun.

 

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