Thursday, October 22, 2009
say hello to jonah for me . . .
Not long after Jonah died, Greg and I went to say goodbye to a friend who was losing her battle with cancer. Edith had drifted into unconsciousness shortly before we arrived and didn't wake up again.
Not on this planet, anyway.
Her family had all been summoned and now gathered in her room. Some hung back, but others pressed in and patted her sallow skin, stroking her hair and murmuring sweet farewells.
I felt like I was on holy ground as I watched the family's final interactions with Edith. A solid child of God, she'd raised her own children to be followers of Christ. The fragrant aroma of their faith filled the room and the veil between heaven and earth seemed very thin indeed.
Before we left, Greg prayed for God's comfort to blanket Edith and her kin. As we said our final goodbyes, I felt compelled to whisper to my sleeping friend:
"Say hi to Jonah for me!"
It may have been my imagination, but I thought I saw the faintest smile . . .
This week, I had lunch with my friend Terry. Her husband, Ken, is dying (he's the one one the mountain I visit each Monday) and she's taking life one day at a time right now. But she is brave and strong and funny and I am blessed to call her my friend.
And she gave me a precious gift on Tuesday . . .
"I hope this doesn't hurt your heart," Terry said to me, as we finished up our gluten/msg-free meals at our favorite thai place. "But I want to tell you about a conversation I had with Ken this week."
Maybe Ken hates my cooking and I'll be banned from the kitchen!? was the only heart-rending issue that came to my mind. But I braced myself and told Terry to spill the beans.
"Well it dawned on me that Ken will get to see your son before you do--and I realized that I don't even know his name!"
"Ah, his name is Jonah," I replied, startled that she would even remember my loss in the midst of her present pain. But that's Terry.
"Do you think Ken could say hello to Jonah for me?" I asked, already seeing the answer on her face.
There was no imagining the smile this time . . .