Valentines and angels among us

It’s been a tough week or so. A rough patch with my Valentine, a bad economy that is not seeming
to ease. Lots of  other things to worry this already worrisome mind too. But, things always look darkest before
the dawn. Went to church yesterday for Ash Wednesday. It was a good sermon and it spoke words
I needed to hear. I came out rejuvenated and feeling my burden lighten just a bit. Then, I went to tai chi this morning. A few ladies I know from church go. It’s very relaxing. I am the youngest one there,
but that never bothered me any. I love being around people older than me and here’s one reason why. A recently widowed woman from church introduced me to her friend, Madeline. During the break, halfway through the class, Madeline and I wound up in a conversation that went from one subject to another. Eventually, she told me her daughter died of pancreatic cancer after suffering miserably for 2 years. Even later in the conversation, she told me
that her son had died in an accident at 22 and her husband died of a stroke, after spending 2 months in a coma, before her daughter died. (OK I know this is getting depressing, but it gets better).  I asked if she had any other children, she said no.(I don’t know why my print changed and darned if I can figure how to change it back), Her daughter had been divorced when she got sick and lived with her with her 2 college aged children, so she saw her through this awful illness and then kept her grandkids with her after she passed. Awful. This woman’s life was just one tragedy after another.

BUT, what a survivor. She told me she is 85. She looks incredible, takes care of herself, and is in great shape. She still cherishes her life, regardless of what happened. Heck, she still dyes her hair blonde, I’m guessing going for that “have more fun” thing. I told her about Tim, how he’d been diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago and that we have a 14 year-old. She said a lot of supportive things to me. She said that bad things happen but God gives us the strength to go on. She said you not only do it for you kids, you do it for yourself. She told me that when her son was killed she wanted to curl up and die, but she had a daughter to take care of and she eventually got on with living. She said she is still not planning to go anywhere for a long time, at least until her great-granddaughter is in school. Then she told me, as we were about to start the 2nd half of the class, “I don’t want to be sick, I’d like to just go to sleep one night and not wake up,” and with a wink as she got back into her spot to start the exercise, she said, “I think God owes me that.”

AT the end of the class, our instructor wished us all a happy Valentine’s day and reminded us to tell people we love them. Then she said, “tell everyone.” So, some friends and some just aquaintences started telling each other that. I exchanged “I love yous” with 2 of my church buddies. Then Madeline sought me out, hugged me, told me she loved me and said something supportive to me that I can’t even recall already, I was just so amazed by her. I replied in kind and told her I was so happy to have
met and talked to her today.

Ya know, some days, people seem to be put in your path for a reason. The human spirit can survive even the most horrible of tragedies. This woman told me that her faith sustained her. As I go through this hard time in my life, and deal with things that most 47 year-olds don’t have to deal with, it inspires me to meet people like this. It gives me hope. It also humbles me, but most of all, it reminds me that you meet people all the time that teach you lessons. Some people hurt you and you learn from it, but, mercifully, God also sends you people who heal you. Madeline did that for me today.