>> Saturday, August 27, 2011
Her real name was Eva. But somehow that just didn’t fit … so she was called Ernie. She came into my life when my husband and I became friends with her son and his wife. As our friendship grew, we were included as family on many occasions. How special that was to me, having been raised with a mother who didn’t seem to know how to smile. Ernie smiled.
Halloween was always a costume party. One year she and her children came dressed in wedding clothes (I don’t remember whose wedding they had worn them to). We’ve watched the Super Bowl together … accepted as part of the group. And always eating … wonderful food … prepared by family.
She and her husband were the true patriarch and matriarch of that family line. I loved being around them. They laughed and loved and cared about each other. With her children, grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren enjoying life all around her, she would sit … observing. But she was never idle. Her hands were always busy with a knitting project.
Just over a month ago, once again, I sat beside her in the shade by the swimming pool at her son’s home. I had been told her cancer had returned (but I hadn’t been aware she had it before) and that this time the treatments would be easier. She wouldn’t get so sick and her hair wouldn’t fall out. But cancer was not mentioned that day. We talked of life and love and happy things as her fingers flew … working on the ever-present project.
She gave no indication her life was in serious trouble.
That’s why the text this morning saying she passed away last night was such a shock. My thoughts bounced around in my head. What will Bob do (her husband)? What can we do? And in between all those other thoughts, one came repeatedly. I never told her … that she was my role model for being a mom … a grandma … a great-grandma … and for facing the challenge of cancer without any grumbling or seeking pity.
I didn’t tell her.
And so I’m left to work through that. But if there is someone you want to say something to … do it.
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 (NIV)