Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Blessing of Friendship

We are headed soon to the "Celebration of Life" of dear friend of mine. She had MS but died of cancer. She was a wonderful mother, wife, and friend. She lived 87 years but her spirit was always bright and shinning. She never complained in the face of many physical struggles. She was a class woman, with graceful ways, twinkling eyes, and a comforting voice. She cared from the heart about you, your interests, your dreams and your thoughts. She already is so dearly missed.

Jeanne came into my life just as I left work and struggled with the diagnosis of MS and a big flare up of symptoms. She was a warm motherly figure that reached out to me at water exercise. As the days, weeks, months, years unfolded so did our friendship.
I was able to see her at swim class twice weekly, and we called. When I could no longer drive and she went to a nursing home for care - our visits were infrequent but powerful. I tried to send cards to assure her I had not forgotten her. I saw her last a few weeks before her death.

What I marvel at is the depth of support I felt from Jeanne. We shared chuckles, she gave me insights and was a source of inspiration and strength. There are friends I have lost to death before of course, but this loss has hit me so very hard. I would give anything to have one more visit with Jeanne...but on the other hand I am so pleased she is out of pain and joyous in heaven.

At the nursing home there was a very special peaceful garden. When we brought her there she barely spoke. She wanted to soak in the beauty and peace of the flowers, the fountains, and the birds. There was a peace on her face that I believe she has bound in heaven...

Jeanne taught me how to handle MS with grace even though she hated the limitations. She taught me to laugh even on hard days. She demonstrated to me how to push myself to get to water exercise even when tired or blue because of the friendships and of course the exercise. She noticed if you missed a class, looked tired, worried, and sensed when you needed some extra support. She supported me during the illness and death of my own mother.

I have regrets. i wish I could have seen Jeanne more when I drove and she lived in her apartment and loved visitors. Though she had many friends. i wish I had pushed harder to find rides when she was in the nursing home so I would have seen her more often. I knew this life was sllipping away from her but thought I would see her one more time at least...I had planned to see her the day after she died.

Jeanne wouldn't want me to feel bad - she would rejoice over the times that we shared together. With all her friends she treasured the gift of time together. She spoke proudly of her dear son John, who stood by her side through everything and her grandson Sam. When you asked at the nursing home for her room number they knew it by heart at the desk. They siad many friends visited her. I know at times though days grew long for her. I am most grateful for the loving care she got at St. Theresa Nursing Home.

I just can't find words to say "Goodbye" to such a wonderful "Angel" in my life. She loved the humor in the fact that she, Jeanne Angel saw Dr. Love (true her primary physician). She had a loving family , shared with me the loss of her brother and her pride in her neices and nephews and other close friends.

Jeanne, hello to your eternal life in heaven.
I cannot say goodbye, it is too sad.
I have a hole in my heart that is filled with the love I have for you.

I promise to think of you - I already do and the wisdom you shared with me.
I promise to spread a sense of goodness and love as you did.

I believe we will meet again in heaven...but gosh I am a better person for having known you on earth. Thank you for touching my life.

Mary Weinand

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