"Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down. If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart to heaven--only you.
It is in the middle of misery that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good came of this, is not yet listening."
Clarisse Pinkola Estes

For Tuesday

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Cloth I Am Cut From

I awoke this morning to find an email from my mother in my inbox. Normal people with normal lives would think nothing of this. In my very abnormal life, this was an email from a woman who I had not spoken to in many years. A woman who has only offered me heartache and grief. Not a mother. Not my mother. At least not the mother I had always prayed for.

Dear Tammy,

I am writing this letter to you because I need to get past some things I have done and forgive myself once and for all for my inability to care for you and for giving you up for adoption. I am in therapy, and my therapist thinks this is where I should start. I agree with her. I don't expect a response from you, I just need to write this letter. I would have written it on paper and sent it ( a bit more personal I think), but I don't have your address. I’ve been carrying this heavy bag of guilt for what happened with you and other events in my life too long and it’s causing me to have emotional issues, so here goes.

When I was a teenager, I heard that my mother was going to have an abortion when she got pregnant with me. I thought long and hard about what it would have meant if she had the abortion. As a result, when I got pregnant with you, against your father's wishes and offer to pay, I did not have an abortion. All I really knew was that I was not going to have an abortion - I did not think about any other consequences.

When you were born, I was amazed, but I don't really feel like I bonded with you. That is not my fault or yours. I tried to be a mother, but I guess it wasn't really in me. I wanted to be your mother, the best mother a daughter could have. I was not, I could not. I even went to a class where they teach you how to change a diaper, feed, burp and bathe the baby. Nothing came naturally.

I spent less and less time with you when you were an infant. I was too selfish, too busy being a young adult. Of course, that made the possibility of bonding even less remote. That was my fault and I am sorry for that.

When I met Bob, I was not spending very much time with you at all. He did not like children, so I'd leave you at the sitter's. Not too long after I met him, I started doing meth and cocaine. It wasn't very long before the drugs became the most important thing in my life (except maybe for Bob, who I was also addicted to). I was guilty that I wasn't being a mother to you, but that wasn't enough to make me change.

I became more and more guilty and took you to give you up for adoption. I was a failure. In a week, I decided I hadn't given it all I had to try to raise you, so I brought you back home. I tried again, and I failed again.

If Bob did molest you (which, as you know, I don't believe he did because he was never alone with you, although, being a meth and cocaine addict, I could sleep for days on end, and I suppose something could have happened), that would mean I was even a worse mother. How could anyone let that happen to their little baby girl? If it did happen at my house or at a babysitter I left you with (which is what I always suspected happened), I am very, very sorry for that.

I am sorry for not being able to be what I wanted or what you wanted. When I signed the papers and gave you up for adoption, I thought I was doing the best for you that I could. I thought you would be adopted by a family that would shower you with love and that you could have a normal childhood. I am sorry that did not happen.

I am sorry, too, that I could not give you what you needed as an adult.

There is one thing, though, that I think we can both be very happy about. I did not have an abortion.

I had a hard time with this today. There are three major things that hit an angry chord with me:

1) The selfishness behind her actions for reaching out to me
2) Telling me my dead father wanted me aborted (I refuse to believe her lies)
3) Ending this letter the way she did by abruptly telling me I should be thanking her for not aborting me.

I think she should have run this letter by her therapist before sending it to me. If that therapist isn't a quack she would have informed her that a note like this can be pretty damn damaging to a person. Then again, my mother has a pretty good track record when it comes to shredding my heart.

I am not going to justify this letter with a response today. I may change my mind about that at a later time, but today I will remain silent on my end of the email. I thought long and hard about putting this on my blog. Initially I told myself that is immature and I need to keep my dirty laundry to myself. Then I reminded myself that I blog for me and no one else. Blogging is way cheaper than therapy and well, if throwing my dirty laundry out for anyone to see saves me a little sanity and a lot of dough, then so be it.

If my mother happens to find her words aired out on my blog, and gets upset, well then...shame on her for writing them. These words belong to me now, and I can put them here if I feel like it. I have nothing to lose. We have no relationship and frankly, if she gets upset then la dee dah I don't give a damn!

I tend to write what I feel as I feel it and right now I am angry at this woman for writing me such an awful letter. I pity her for being so cold and empty inside that she cannot imagine having the capacity to love a person that she helped to bring into this world. As selfish as she is, she obviously doesn't love herself. For that, I am sorry for her.

Even in a supposed apology letter, she is still stabbing at me. I don't understand her need to hurt me. I understand her desire to do what is best for me, and the guilt assoiciated with knowing that her wishes were not fulfilled and I had it rough in my childhood years, but to deliberately lash out at me only measures the level of selfishness this woman has climbed to.

I know what happpened with my Dad. I know that she called him after she had me in order to collect child support, she told him she had his daughter and his name was NOT on the birth certificate so he would have no rights to me. Then three years later he gets a call from social workers asking him to sign over his parental rights so I could be adopted. My dad fought for me. He refused to sign those papers for 3 years. He tried everything he could to get the state to give him a chance to take custody of me, but he was a single man, a truck driver, with no roots or a home at the time, and they would not let him have me. He only signed away his rights when they agreed to send him photos of me and allowed him one visit to make sure I was safe. I was six when he met me and that would be the one and only time he saw me until I was 17 and I found him.

March 10th will be the 3rd anniversary of my Daddy's death. This is a really hard time for me already, and to have this woman tell me such a horrible thing right now, it cuts deep. Three years is a long time, but that doesn't change the fact that my heart is broken over the loss of my Daddy. For her to say such things...She is awful. I cannot believe I have her blood running through my veins.

I think about how we are cut from the same cloth and it literally sickens me. I cannot turn out like this woman. I am nothing like her. She is everything I strive NOT to be.

I love my babies. Each and every one of them. I love them more than life itself. I would jump in front of a bus to save them. I would die for them. My love has NO boundaries. My babies are my heart, my soul. I could never imagine being without them. Being a mother is hard work, but the moment I saw those two lines on my pregnancy test I knew right away that I was ready for the challenge.

Sure I was scared, I knew there was a good chance history would repeat itself, but I looked history in the face and told it to fuck off. I didn't need to sit and wait for history to repeat itself when I had a future to look forward to.

13 years later, I have so much to be thankful for. A loving husband who loves me more than I deserve, three beautiful boys who know just how to drive me nuts, and make me smile all at the same time. I have my faith. I know that my mother is not in charge of my fate. She never held the key to my life. God is in charge. He is the one that breathed life into me, and He continues to breathe life into me. He has a purpose for me. He is the one that I will thank for my life. Not her.

So today, I am going to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon me. I am going to take this experience as a reminder to love my children more outwardly so they will never ever doubt how much they mean to me. As hard as it is, I will pray for my mother. I will pray that one day she will know what it is like to feel for someone other than herself. She is living in a cold, dark world and I will pray that one day she will see the light and understand exactly what she has missed out on. Then, when I am done praying for her, I will let her go and hold on to what I do have, and thank my lucky stars that my side of the cloth is whole, colorful and woven strong and tight instead of tattered, faded and worn.

While I was posting this I came across a quote that I got from Tuesday's service last year:

"Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down. If you cannot refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart to heaven--only you.
It is in the middle of misery that so much becomes clear.
The one who says nothing good came of this, is not yet listening."
-Clarisse Pinkola Estes

These words say it best. What is in my heart. I am refusing to stay down and rejoicing that my heart is filled with His love and all the love from all my family and friends.

I know that tomorrow, I will be ok.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dear Betty....

Dear Betty,

You have touched my life in more ways than you can possibly imagine. When I first met you I looked at you as an older lady and really did not take the time to get to know you. Months went by and I would smile at you in passing, but I never really took the time to say more than hello and goodbye.

When I had my accident in March, after a couple of weeks I was finally able to call in to work and it was your voice I heard on the phone. You were so kind to me. Caring, and concerned you really wanted to be sure I was ok.

I called a few times during the 2 months I was out and each time your friendly voice would greet me. You kept me up to date on all the happenings at work. You were so good about that, always in the loop and keeping everyone informed.

When I returned to work, I was sequestered to softlines and that is where we became fast friends. You ran that fitting room like a tight ship. You could hustle through there and at the end of the evening you were always so helpful.

I loved our chats about nothing. One time when thunder shook the whole store, you looked at me, eyes misty from a distant memory. "My Great-Grandmother used to call these storms Dunder-Boomers..." Every time I hear thunder I think of the wistful look on your face as you spoke of your great grandmother.

One day, I heard you took a fall. You busted your teeth right through your lip. You said you had tripped but the store said you fainted. We were all so worried about you. We told you to see your doctor to be sure all was ok.

We all were quite frustrated with you for being so stubborn, Betty. I wanted to drag you to the Dr. myself if only I knew how to coax you into my car! Watching you go from bad to worse was so hard. We all cared so much for you. We wanted to see our Betty zipping around the fitting room again. Instead we watched you hobble around and it broke our hearts to see you suffer.

We were relieved to hear you finally went to the Dr. Lots of stuff going wrong with you. We all did what we could to help you. You could barely stand and we understood even simple things like doing your dishes or grocery shopping were too much for you to bear.

As hard as it was for you, you allowed us in to help you. You were so surprised that we cared so deeply for you.

Getting to know you at work was great, but I am so grateful for the day we spent together at your home. I had made some meals for you and I'm glad you liked the tuna casserole and even though you were kind you didn't care for the vegetarian spaghetti. I bet you still have some of that in your freezer, don't you?

Walking in to your home was like stepping out of a time capsule and into 1976. Your home was as old as I was and nothing had been changed except the new stove in the kitchen. The carpet was orange and beige shag, the wood fixtures, the wood paneling...You still had your parents room set up as though they were still there with you. The dresses you sewed for your mother were beautiful. I know I told you this, Betty, but you were so talented. I only wish I could have been over more and you could have taught me to sew lovely dresses like the ones you made for your mother.

I was amazed at your book collection. You must have had over 1000 books lining your bedroom wall. All those Harlequin Romance novels, and Nancy Drew books. You treasured each one.

You were a true Cheapskate, Betty. You unplugged every appliance while not in use. You washed your plastic butter bowls and used them as tupperware. You even washed out your ziploc bags, something I never thought to do! You let the sun light up your home and turned on your lights at dusk. You didn't own an answering machine and your phone was an old corded rotary probably as old as your home!

I really enjoyed you taking the time to give me a tour of your place and the photos you shared of your parents and of you and your little brother as children. You treasured the simple things in life, and I felt the warmth of your smile as you told me stories of your childhood.

You were a young, naiive 13 year old girl trapped in a 63 year old body. It was hard for me to understand how you could be happy living all alone, never being married, never even having a boyfriend. Not one. Steve Carell has nothing on you, Betty. You could have been a nun! I had never met someone your age with such little life experience. No travels out of the country or even the state. You were content to spend your days at work and then come home and curl up with a good book or listen to the radio. Your tunes were old school, Betty. Not my kind of old school, but jazz and classical. You had this little tuner radio that barely worked. You were so proud of the console stereo equipped with a working record player. Even though it worked you rarely played it.

I tried to get you to sit so I could do your dishes. You were so embarrassed but you knew I wanted to help and you let me. You were supposed to be sitting but after 10 minutes you ended up right next to me drying the dishes. I was shocked you didn't have a dishwasher. It had been so long since I handwashed a dish. I loved how you kept giving me back dishes that had spots on them. You were so OCD, it cracked me up. Spots I could not see with my naked eye, but they were there!

I treasure the moment you shyly told me that where I was standing was where your mother stood and you would dry as she washed. It brought you back to a time when you were happy and it made my heart bounce with emotion as I saw your eyes tear up and your face brighten with your sweet smile. I know you adored your mother and missed her so. I was so happy to be there with you and hear you reminisce about her with me.

We talked about your love life, or lack of one. I was surprised you had not even been out on a date. I joked about hooking you up with your neighbor since he was single and always there to lend you a hand. You blushed at the idea and kind of laughed it off.

We talked about the pain of watching a parent die. In your case you cared for both of them until they passed. Your father passing in 2005 and your mother passing in 2007. We talked about the idea of ghosts and the afterlife and you admitted that there was a time you felt them in the home but it was brief and you knew they were with our Father.

We shared a lot of laughs and a few tears that day. I was sad to go as I didn't want to leave you alone. I wanted so bad to take care of you to let you know that you are never alone. I wanted you to feel loved and cared for. To know that you could pick up the phone and call me for anything and I would be there. I did tell you to call me and you took down my number. I felt awkward because I wanted to hug you goodbye but I was frozen because I was not sure what to do. I didn't have to think because next thing I knew your arms were around me and you hugged me so tight for almost 2 minutes. You made me tear up with that big hug, Betty. I was trying to play it cool and calm and then you go and hug me like that. I managed to keep the tears in my eyes even after I saw your eyes well up. These were happy tears...happy for a newfound friendship, happy because I helped you but I want you to know that you really helped me too.

I admire your spunk. I love your smile. I look at you as though you are a grandmother but I feel as though you are a child in many ways. So innocent, so unaware of the world around you.

You took care of your parents for so long, you forgot to take care of yourself. Going to the Dr was not on your priority list but you quickly learned that if you did not go, you would have 12 screaming ladies in red shirts on your back so fast!

When you learned you had to have open heart surgery and you had tumors on your liver, I was so devastated for you. That is how my dad passed away, tumors consuming his liver, he died so suddenly. I cried for you. I prayed so hard that you would be ok. I got scared too. I kept thinking about the pain I felt when I lost my Grandpa in that housefire, and then the fresh pain from losing my Dad. The thought of befriending someone in your condition scared the crap out of me. I didn't want to endure the pain of losing someone else I cared for. But I pushed those fears aside and reminded you I was here. I meant it. I would be there for you.

I laughed as we talked the night before your surgery. How you said it was really hard but you were setting your hair. I joked about you trying to snag yourself a Doctor. You assured me that even though you were nervous, you were at peace with everyting. We talked about the big "what if..." and your words reassured me at a time I should have been reassuring you. You told me that if you were to go you knew where you were going and you would be happy to go there. I told you not to be in a rush because we sure like having you around.

You made it through the surgery and I was so happy. I did not call you because I was afraid to disturb you while you healed. I meant to call after a week or so and next thing I knew several weeks went by and I finally made myself take a moment to call.

That was two days ago. Damn you, Betty for not having an answering machine. Your phone rang over 20 times before I finally hung up. I wanted you to know I was still here and that you were in my thoughts daily. I really should have called you sooner, but I admit I was scared. Scared to hear you in pain or that I was calling at a time when you were resting.

Betty, my heart is so heavy right now. My tears flow freely as I feel that hug you gave me, your fingertips holding tight against my back as you thanked me for coming over. I had no idea that would be the last time I saw you. I am just so sad that I didn't get that "one more time" we all seem to want so badly when we lose someone we care about.

I want you to know that you were somebody. You impacted a lot of us in ways that you never knew. I pray that you feel the warmth you spread to all of us. I pray that you know how much we will miss you. I know you would never want us to be sad but we are all feeling the loss of not having you here anymore.

I had to endure working tonight and it was tough. Walking into the fitting room, a place where we shared many light hearted chats. Opening the notebook and seeing your instructions written inside. Facing all the people who adored you and feeling that emptiness, the stark pain of knowing you were gone.

I was grateful for the moments I had company but I could not stop talking about you. I found myself going back to that moment in your kitchen as I washed and you dried and I could see how happy you were. Such a simple moment.

To think that you are experiencing a joy like none that can be described here on earth is comforting to me. To know that you are with your parents brings me peace.

I will miss you, Betty. I am missing you. It hurts and it sucks. I hate the pain that squeezes at my heart and pounds at my head. I hate having that lump in my throat that won't go away. I hate walking around like I am in a fog and I can't seem to get my thoughts straight because all I can think about is the pain of losing you and feeling like a big dork because to so many you were just a coworker and I should not be so broken up over this, but to me you were a friend. Someone I admired. Someone I looked up to and your life captivated me with awe.

I know God has an amazing plan for you in Heaven. I am rejoicing just knowing that you finally get to see that you did make a difference and I know you can see into all our hearts and finally know that you were loved and for good reason.

It was hard to open myself up to our friendship, knowing that this pain would be lingering around the corner, but I am glad I took the chance. I am a better person for knowing you, my dear sweet friend.

Your Friend,


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Betty is doing great!

She is now home and recovering for heart surgery! The tumors are benign (Thank God!) and she has to get shots to keep them from growing. I am so happy she is getting on the track to recovery!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prayers for Betty

Betty is Wilma. I used a undercover name just in case it was not cool to use her real name...but she needs all the prayers she can get.

Today she had open heart surgery. Tomorrow they are taking a biopsy of a tumor in her liver...

Please please pray it is not cancerous.

Please pray for a quick recovery.

She really is a dear sweet woman who has one brother and no one else in this whole world but her friends at work and a couple of nice neighbors.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers this week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Friend, "Wilma"

Please pray for my friend "Wilma" I posted about her before. She has some issues with her heart and they were set to do open heart surgery when they found out she has tumors on her liver and intestines. Of course anything to do with tumors on the liver terrifies me.

Please send prayers her way. She really is an amazing woman and it will break my heart if she ends up having cancer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dear Daddy

I'm mad at you. I know it is ridiculous for me to be angry with you, given your current situation and all, but I can't seem to control how I am feeling.

It's really not fair. How this all went down. You not being in my life, through circumstances that were not in your control. I finally met you when I was 17 but it was hard for both of us.

We had a rocky road, you and I. You were so generous to let me stay in your home when I found myself pregnant and alone. I really got to know you in those few months. I finally felt like I had a Daddy but I still didn't know how to be a daughter. It's not something that comes with genetic makeup, you know. I was nobody's daughter my whole childhood and then all of a sudden I have a father who wants his daughter and I don't know how to give him what he wants.

I was scared to be on my own but even more afraid of being a burden so with your loving guidance, I moved out on my own. Our relationship became very rocky as I struggled to regain my independence. You were looking for me to acknowledge all you had done for me, perhaps to fill that void in your heart left by all the years of guilt when you didn't know where I was. I just wanted to have some time to figure out how to be a parent and build a life for my son and I.

I moved over 1000 miles from you. We parted on shaky terms. You wanted me to stay near you and I was ready to move on to the next stage in my life. You once told me that you will never choose me over your wife (when she and I were fighting) and that stung hard. Especially because I never asked you to choose I just felt she was wrong and wanted you to know how I felt. I know it was hard for you, when we fought. You loved us both so much and felt caught in the middle. When it was really good between all of us it was wonderful but when it was really bad it was unbearable. That is why I moved. I wanted to be free from all the drama and even your neediness. I was tired of you needing me to be someone I wasn't.

I loved you. I loved you more than I knew I was capable of loving you. Distance proved to be what we needed. Our relationship blossumed over the phone. We did not get to see each other much but I knew there was plenty of time. Later.

The few visits we had were nice. We got along great and it seemed that you were falling into your role as my Dad and I really enjoyed my role as your daughter. I finally could hug you without being afraid. I could look you in the eye and know that it was safe to do so. We could talk for hours about nothing and it was nice.

When I lost my Grandpa in that horrible housefire, it was you who cried with me. It was you who comforted me and knew just what to say to my aching heart to somehow learn to function again.

I began to open up enough to rely on you to be there for me. I trusted you. I needed you.

You knew something was wrong and you even called me one day and said "I've been a bad Father..." You let me laugh that off and tell you if you were a bad father then I was a bad daughter. Then you let me babble away for over an hour without butting in to tell me you were dying. You could have told me. It would have sucked but at least I would have gotten a proper goodbye with you...

Instead you just went along with the words I was saying. God only knows what was going through your mind as I babbled on about the kids and my problems. Did you even try to come up with the words to tell me or did you just feel I was better off not knowing? I mean, you had to know I was going to find out one way or another. Maybe you really didn't know...I guess I will never know the answer.

I got on a plane to see you. Within hours I was watching you take your last breaths. Daddy, you have no idea how hard this was for me. I could barely stand there. I wanted you to know I was there with you, there for you. Because I loved you and you needed me there. Towards the end, when it was obvious it was only a matter of minutes, I wanted to run away so bad. I wanted to run as far away as I could and scream at the top of my lungs at God for putting me through this, for taking you from me without so much a goodbye. I wanted to know what was in your heart. I wanted to know you would find a way to let me know you were ok as you crossed from this earth to the path of your spiritual journey. I got NOTHING. So here I was, watching you drown inside yourself. Understanding that each of your organs was shutting down one by one and there was nothing, absolutely nothing I could do except listen to you breathe and pray that God take you without suffering.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Gurgle. Silence. Breathe in...

It was heartwrenching for me. I could no longer stand at your side. I could not leave you but I knew that once the silence stayed, and no more breaths came, I would have to run.

I stood there touching your big toe. Poised to run to the back room as soon as the silence set in. Something inside me was telling me to run as fast as I could. Any moment now. Another breath. More gurgling. The strength it took to stand there....came from deep within.


Is it over? Oh my God. That's it.


I ran.

Things happened after that. Terrible things. I know that God or an Angel was looking out for me. Something happened where after my Dad took his final breaths all the fluid that he had drowned in came out of his mouth. I heard the noise. I'll never forget that sound. It was almost as bad as the sound of silence when Dad stopped breathing. Almost.

I was in the back room. I was alone. No one remembered I was there. After what seemed like hours, the men came to take my Dad to the mortuary. The sound of them lugging his body into the bag. The sound of that horrible zipper. I heard it all. I want to forget but it haunts me.

Less than 3 years later I sit. Still angry. Still hearing these sounds as though they happened minutes ago.

I was somebody's daughter. You were my hero. I could act like a brat and get away with it because you were my Daddy and I was your princess. You took that away from me.

You promised me you would never leave and you left me.

It sucks. I'm hurting. I'm mad at you for breaking your promise.

I know, I know. You died. It's not like you could have helped it. But still, I have the right to be irrational and to pout. I have the right to yell at you when no one is looking. I have the right to jump up and down and stomp my feet and tell you it's not fair.

Because you missed my terrible twos. Now I'd like to think you are up there being forced to watch your daughter through her terrible thirties.

I just wish I could bury my head in your big barrelled chest and hear you tell me that everything is going to be ok.

I miss my Daddy today.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Food for the Soul

A while ago I mentioned my co-worker "Wilma" she has not gotten any better. In fact she has taken a leave of absence from work because she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. It sounds bad, but it is a condition that can be treated if she gets the proper care. The problem is she is quite stubborn and doesn't like to go to the Dr. for the simple fact that it costs money.

She started retaining water and has since put on 40 (yes FORTY) pounds of water weight! Her condition is serious but her response to getting care is quite relaxed. We can't push her too hard so all we can do is offer to help and hope she allows us to.

A lot of us at work have gotten together to intervene. There is a lot of talk on how we want to help and I decided to stop talking and just do.

I called her today and basically told her I was coming over with some meals. Naturally she hesitated and I said that I wanted to do this and I insist. She agreed. I ran around like a mad woman to the store then to my home, tearing up my kitchen and making quite a bit of freezable food to hold her over a good week or two! I also got her some disposable plates, silverware, and cups so she would not have to worry about dishes.

My husband had his relatives and the kids in the mountains today so I took advantage of this alone time to spend with Wilma.

I cannot tell you how happy I felt when I saw the smile on her face.

Her home is a double wide in a quiet mobile park. It is 33 years old. Just like me. With the exception of a newer Maytag stove, no upgrades have been done to this house. Wood paneling graced the walls, padded linoleum on the kitchen and bathroom floors. Cut and shag orange and beige carpet under my feet. Old pictures of her and her brother placed on the dresser in the room her parents shared. Hand sewn dresses that she made for her mother sit in a wardrobe her father handcrafted.

In her room books line one wall from floor to ceiling. Harlequin Romanace novels, and Nancy Drew mysteries. She is an avid reader and her book collection is impressive. There is a sitting room with a console stereo that plays 8-tracks and records. Stepping into her home is like walking out of a time machine. It is quite remarkable!

Wilma grew up with her parents and her brother. They were a close knit family. Eventually her brother married and moved several hours away, leaving Wilma to care for their elderly parents. Eventually her parents passed in that home about 2 years apart from each other. Wilma is left alone and has grown accustomed to living out her days alone amungst her tiny tv and her novels. She keeps her home quite tidy, though during my visit she was embarrassed about the dishes that were taking over her kitchen. She does not own a dishwasher and has to handwash everything. It is hard for her to stand for long periods of time. I insisted that she let me take care of the dishes and she told me not to worry about it. I told her I wanted to help.

Wilma is religious and I knew this. I pulled out the "Let me serve you. Jesus asks us to serve each other so please, let me fulfill His request." Well, that worked like a charm! *High five to the Big Guy* I spent the rest of the afternoon doing dishes and talking with her about so many wonderful things. She would get bursts of energy and get up to help dry the dishes as I washed them. She told me her mother used to wash while she dried. It seemed to bring back some good memories for her and I could tell the past few years of standing alone at the sink were hard for her.

I gently suggested ways she could get around the house easier. She had kept her parents canes and walkers and I suggested she have a walker handy when she is sitting so it would not be so difficult to get up. I also suggested she get a life alert button to wear because all she has in the home is an old rotary phone. She has already had a couple of incidents where she had to crawl to her room because she could not stand. This is so upsetting for me to hear. I want so badly to adopt this woman and take her under my wing without her feeling like I feel sorry for her. I honestly admire her and really feel she is an amazing person with a lot to teach me. As much as she feels I was helping her today, she has no idea how much she helped me.

After a few hours, I had to leave to get back home and meet the kiddos. I told her I would be back and I'd bring some DVD's for her to watch. She actually has a DVD player that she received from a neice as a gift. She has no idea how to work it though so we will save that lesson for my next visit! I plan to make her some zucchini bread and print out a lot of info on congestive heart failure so she understands what things to look for in case her situation becomes urgent.

What I have learned today is that it is always nice to talk about doing something for other people. Talking is great because you are thinking about them and you have the desire to help them. Doing, on the other hand is much more rewarding. Doing is also much harder because it takes effort and in today's hectic times it usually means putting other things off so you can make time to do for others.

Doing feels so good. I plan to do more often. In the process of turning my words into action, I managed to make a pretty awesome friend.

The hug I received, as I said goodbye...the two armed super squeeze hug that lasted almost an entire minute...I can't even put into words how much that meant to me.

Please send prayers for my friend Wilma.