One year ago, a woman passed, and she left me a great gift. I never met her, but I'm told that I would have liked her, and she probably would have liked me. I'm told that we had some things in common, including the fact that we both were determined to be nurses since childhood, and we both loved it from day one. I'm told that she was an amazingly funny person, and that she didn't take any crap off of anyone. She spoke her mind when she needed to, but she loved pople, and they loved her.
I'm told that she was sometimes a bit of a fashionista. She had a thing for shoes, and left dozens of shoes behind, in size 8 1/2, just like I wear. I'm told that she switched purses with the seasons, and probably more. She did some time as a Mary Kay lady, and would do her "Mary Kay" face for special occasions, but not every day. She liked to cook, and made nut rolls en masse at Christmas time, not only as gifts for friends, but also to maintain the family tradition. Her calendar still hangs in her house -- with scenic photos accompanied by scripture verses, with dates including handwritten notes of birthdays and anniversaries, sometimes accompanied by hearts, carefully written in beautiful script. She was a detail person.
She was a breast cancer survivor, and the Race For the Cure was something of a family tradition. She wore a pink boa, and her family grinned alongside her in photos. She was a lifelong Lutheran. She loved her retirement job as a parish nurse, and organized blood drives at her church that likely saved dozens of lives.
It was that same church that was packed a year ago for her funeral service. She hadn't been sick for long, but she knew that she was dying. Still, her death came as a surprise when it happened -- much sooner than anyone was prepared for. It devastated those who knew her, not just because of how suddenly it happened, but by the sheer fact that she wouldn't be here anymore, with her wicked sense of humor, and her shoulder to cry on. The pastor gave a beautiful eulogy, but truthfully, words are probably inadequate for describing a person who impacted so many lives, isn't it?
I believe that things happen for a reason, and sometimes things, or people, are sent our way for reasons we can't comprehend. Those people are sent by God, or angels, our departed loved ones, or some mystical spirit that knows better than we do what it is that we need at that place and time. And so it was that she sent me a gift. His name is Jim, and he has changed my life. He is a gift and for that reason, I will be totally forever indebted to a not-so-complete stranger whose death broke so many hearts, but healed one.
Rest in peace, dear one. Rest in peace.