Friday, September 12, 2008

A Different Kind of Party

My friend and mentor, Mrs. S. turned 81 this week. The significance of the birthday is not the number of years, but the fact that this was her last birthday. She has terminal cancer. In lieu of that, I wanted to give her a surprise party, so I invited her over for brunch, and began phone and email sleuthing in order to invite some of her oldest friends.

Although she did not expect a party, she was very happily surprised to see everyone when we came in the house. Actually some guests came later, and people had to come and go a little bit, but she was honored that people took time to remember her.

Abby helped me extend the table to its largest, and the counter in the kitchen served as our buffet, holding an amazing amount of food. I didn't really plan any activities other than talking, eating, singing happy birthday and eating cheesecake. Yes, we took pictures. Abby surprised us and played her guitar; it was something amazing that was spread out over five pages. (Villa Lobos?) The ladies really, really liked it.

Mrs. S. is clearing out her household and moving to a small apartment Oct. 1. She gave me some beautiful things to remember her by. One is a hand-painted ceramic plate that is mostly blue and yellow and hangs on the wall. She also sent 3 beautiful matching china tea cups and saucers. We have spent many hours together drinking tea and eating cookies and praying and talking. She has been my dear friend, prayer partner and second mother. She has mentored many intercessors. I told Abby that Mrs. S. is to intercessors as Yoda was to Jedi Knights. She will not be replaced. She also gave me her coffee maker, a very nice one. This is interesting because neither of us are coffee drinkers, but we both love to have dinner parties, and make coffee for guests! Last, but not least, Mrs. S. asked me to take any books that I wanted from her collection that she was discarding. Of course, I have all the Ministry School books waiting for me, and books I already had that I am trying to finish and now, a new and incredibly interesting stack.

It has not really registered with me yet that Mrs. S. is dying. Her oncologist estimates Jan. 1 as her last day. I do not have what it takes to handle this information. Mrs. S. is quite happy and content to be going to be with the Lord, but I cannot say that I am happy to let her go.

Another runner told me recently that so much of distance running is mental that she decides before she starts her run how many miles that she will go. Whenever she gets to that distance, be it 5 or 15, then she is out of energy because that is what she had mentally planned on.

Somehow, I need to be like my running friend and decide in advance that I am going to be able to run the distance with Mrs. S. so that I am ready to let her go, but each time I think of it, I dissolve into tears.


Airport Gal said...

Oh, what a hard thing it let someone go when it's time! When the nurses told me that my dad was "actively dying"...I couldn't grasp that. How do you say, "No! Stop! Don't go yet! I have so much that I want to tell you, to share with you, to have you a part of in my life! What do you mean? You're here only a short time more?"

Yes, there will be many, many tears--but that's okay! She sounds like a wonderful lady and will be going on to a much-needed rest with the Lord. But, it doesn't take away the "going away part"!

bristowmom said...

I will be praying for you and for Mrs. S.

R said...

I don't know, but that was beautiful. Thanks for posting that.

Mrs. Sinta said...

Thank you for praying.

I stopped by to see Mrs. S. today, and we had fun talking as she was getting ready for a final trip to California to visit one of her daughters. I am thankful that we know now that her time is short, so we can appreciate the time that we have left. At this point, since she is downsizing her household and will shortly be surrendering even more of her independence as she enters a senior apartment with communal dining, she probably needs prayer more than me. She told me that it will be hard, but she has decided to maintain a positive attitude.