I met her ten days ago. When we had arrived, she was napping but her daughter, who was up visiting from North Carolina, said we should wake her because she would like to see us. She hadn’t been doing very well, unfortunately. Within the last three weeks, she had gone from talkative and active to sedate and sleeping most of the time. Not a good sign.
We spoke for awhile – us talking and her listening and nodding and saying a few words. She still liked to dress neatly and was napping in her bed under a light blanket in a pretty, purple suit. She looked very queenly and royal, we told her. She smiled and thanked us.
I said I’d be back in about a week to which she said she looked forward to it. And then she nodded off again.
I went by to visit a few days ago. It was around 1pm. I had randomly picked the date and time. It had been a little more than a week since we had met. Upon arrival, there was no parking. I had never seen so many cars. I ended up parking in the back in a small field with a bunch of other cars.
Going in, the common area was packed with people. What had I stumbled upon? I sat down in a chair. It was a pastor giving a eulogy and telling some funny stories about someone. Occasionally, he would use a name – Miss J___ this or Miss J___ that. I started to listen.
She liked music, choral singing, and had been a choral director. She read many books over the years and had been a teacher off and on. She was an incredible conversationalist and storyteller. She had two daughters. She organized, during her many years at the facility, various activities and the like for residents. I listened some more. And then it hit me – is this the Miss J___ that I’m here to visit?
I couldn’t believe it. It was. I saw the daughter that I had worked with a week back. She gave me a slight wave. Oh no! Miss J___ was gone and I had only visited her once.
When the service was over, I made a phone call and confirmed. And then I spoke with one of the daughters. Miss J___ had had a difficult few days, was taken to hospital, was calmed down, and passed about ten minutes after both daughters had arrived.
Because she had been a long-time resident (almost since the beginning) of the facility, family thought it appropriate to have a memorial service in the common area for all of her friends and some family. It was nice.
I considered, as I sat and watched and listened, how God works with me. He puts me in places and situations that completely come as a surprise. I had no idea – I told the office and they apologized profusely that they hadn’t yet told me about Miss J___.
The daughter came up and hugged me. “We’re sad and she’s blessed,” the daughter said.