Saturday, April 9, 2011

Good-bye, Friend

Funerals are sad events.

But, also chances to share, to give and receive support, to grieve with others.

I was at a funeral today. It was for an old friend, Peggy. There was both heartache and good memories. Her husband Paul, a good friend of mine, gave a very moving tribute to his wife. Many people shared memories of Peggy's generous spirit and her gracious and dignified fight for her life.

Back in the early days of Peggy's cancer diagnosis, Paul called me and asked me to be his prayer partner. For a long time, I prayed daily, often more, for Peggy. I called to check in with Paul. I sent a card. I felt I did so little, though! We live a couple of hours away and Peggy was too ill for overnight visitors.

My Mom's diagnosis came after Peggy's. Peggy and Paul supported my Mom and I as we dealt with chemo and later, radiation and hospice care. Her calls were always welcome, always helpful. In the last days of my Mom's illness, Peggy sent a card to her which included the line "Don't worry, the 'second set of parents' will take care of your children."

Paul attended Mom's service. Peggy tried to, but could not. She was too ill and the car ride tired her. She spent that day with her infant grandson and it turned out to be the last time she saw him. She spent the next weekend with her other two grandchildren. Then she entered the hospital unexpectedly on Wednesday and died on Saturday.

I looked at pictures of Peggy today and realized that I haven't actually seen her in years. I was amazed at how different she looked in recent photographs. But still her presence was felt in my life and in my family. I will miss her.

Rest in peace Peggy. We love you.

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