You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘dear friend’ tag.

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.


A seasoned woman, whose quiet mirth has tickled us, is preparing to leave. A seasoned woman, whose heart-love cherished us, is relocating to Baltimore, Maryland, her simple belongings packed into a van. Now in the care of her married daughter, in the care of the assisted living staff, in the care of her new church community, in the care of the next women’s group she will discover, she will move through her end-days.

Caring lines etch her wizened face. Cropped white hair sets off her dark eyes, that bespeak unseen realities, a faraway wisdom. No longer does she live in the past or future. The present moment, one slipping seamlessly into the next, satisfies.

She has become deeply woman – as nurse, as physician’s wife, as mother of two daughters, as grandmother, as widow, as church member of Second Baptist, as neighbor in Brentwood Forest in St. Louis, Missouri, as friend and confidante of many. She has not flinched from life. She has been stretched, pained, challenged, cast adrift, bewildered, puzzled.

Yet within her angst lies the paradox of her continuing transformation. Within her hollowing, the hollowing of Another. Within fresh tears of this separation lies hilarity in the face of more diminishment. Within her darkness lies the Steadfast Light illuming her next step.

This is Jo. We will miss her very much, especially her Mickey Mouse hat.

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: