Pat's Song
Good Bye

It is so hard
to say Good Bye,
We've journeyed hard;
We've journeyed far
To where we are
Inside this place
To which we've come...

Inside my mind
I see your smile,
I feel God's Grace
I feel the Son shine on your face
It fills my Heart...
It fills my LIFE...
You've given me
A GIFT so fine...
I can't explain
There is no need,
because you know

But the time has come
To say Good Bye
Now you must go
And I must try
To live my life
The way its planned
and find out
Who I really am
and who I am meant to be...

I'll think of you,
Reach out a hand...
And somehow touch
Who you've become
Though you're away,
You will be near.
You're in my Heart...
You're in my thoughts
I'll think of you
And I will find
You made me strong
You helped me grow
You changed my life
Want you to know...

We laughed,
We cried...
along this way;
We always knew
we'd reach this day.
So now
Into a land
Somewhere beyond
Where LIFE abounds
You've found your place
Within God's Grace
Inside The Light
That is divine...

and all is well...

Good Bye, my friend...

I met a woman last spring who was diagnosed with cancer. Somehow we became friends in the short time that she had left. Her son is my daughter's boyfriend. I guess because we did not know each other before she became ill, that our relationship was... hmmmmmm  special... very special...

Our friendship was a safe place for her to talk about her fears... about her grief at leaving behind the three boys that she loved so much, about her worrys over who would take her dog and cat and whether or not she should maybe have them "put down"... and about the God who she didn't think she believed in but found herself talking to anyway...

In a quiet moment one day I found myself feeling that I was holding her hand on my left and Jesus' hand on my right and that one day I would just place her hand in His and step back. It wasn't a hard thing that I had come into her life to do... It was something beautiful... something very beautiful and precious and I wasn't sent alone...

We had both taken painting lessons, although at different times, from the same lady and we decided to go and paint a piece together. She and her 13 year old son came here for supper the Tuesdays of our course and then we went to paint. Tuesdays became special. Her appetite improved and she enjoyed herself so much. She often didn't want to go home. She really seemed to feel a great sense of peace and safety here with two of her children. Her third boy had an evening job every night after school. It was only a 6 week painting course that we took but we didn't manage to get the piece finished. The painting teacher offered to go to Pat's condominium to help us finish. When Pat wasn't able to come here any more I went to her place and cooked our suppers in her kitchen!

Eleanor, our painting teacher, is a fine Christian woman and eventually suggested that the young minister from her Church would be happy to come and see Pat. Pat agreed reluctantly because she was nervous. She had had no exposure to the Church and had only gone to Sunday School briefly as a child. Eleanor made arrangements for Ed to call Pat. She asked me to stay with her the first time that he visited. What a blessing he was! He walked in just full of LIGHT and full of the LOVE of God. Her nervousness melted away. He visited a couple of times a week... and when she went into the hospital - he was the Chaplain there for the summer! Talk about God moving people into position to do His work, eh??

Her animals were such a wonderful pasttime for her too. A friend offered to adopt her cat... and a friend of mine, who is a Deacon in the Church, had phoned me several times, because he had decided he wanted a dog. He kept asking me if I knew anyone who had a dog that needed a good home... I kept telling him no... and  I was beginning to think he was maybe getting a little bit senile actually! Then, finally it hit me... Pat's dog Ollie! Ollie needed a good home... So Ollie and Ted finally met. At first Pat was a little leary because my friend is 70+... What if he dies? she asked, what about Ollie? I promised to take care of it.Then once she saw the big, fenced yard Ollie would rule over, she was even more relieved. So Pat and Ollie and Ted and his wife Marion visited back and forth through the weeks of Pats illness. She kept telling Ollie that he was going to a new home and that he would have to be a good dog. He would look at her with his head tilted... really listening to her. When she went into the hospital for a brief overnight stay, Ollie went to Ted's. When she returned home, she decided it would be best for Ollie to go and stay with Ted then so Pat visited back and forth after that. Ollie was always very happy to see her. He would make a big fuss over her and then go and sit next to Ted. It seemed that he was trying to assure her that he would be okay. It made her kind of sad and happy at the same time!

Pat told me one day that she found the nights the hardest  to get through and because I am an insomniac anyway, I offered to go and stay with her at night so she would have someone to talk to when she woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. I took my overnight bag and my sleeping bag and pillow and camped out on the couch. I started to go on Tuesday and Thursdays. 

At first she stayed in her own room upstairs but eventually she couldn't get up and down so easily and started sleeping on the other end of the L shape sofa. We would  laugh when the visiting nurse woke us up in the morning and tell her we were having a sleep over! I suggested she get a hospital bed and we set it up in the livingroom so she would be more comfortable and always close to the life going on around her. It was hard for her three boys, but they did very well. 

The first night I was with her she started talking... night brings out things that seem to stay hidden during the day, I find. She thought God was punishing her with this cancer, that He had "given" her this cancer... I assured he that NO... God did not give her cancer, that God wants us all to be well, to be healthy, to be whole... He never wills us to be sick but He knows that we will be... that it is not God who shakes His finger in condemnation at us, but man. God LOVES us anyway! And as I watched her face... a look of relief swept over it and lit it up. It seemed that I saw a shadow of darkness fall away from her... 

She set a goal for herself. She wanted to live until her 13 year old's public school Graduation in June. She amazed everyone, including her Doctor. Her courage and her sense of humour never failed... She LIVED until the moment that she died... she touched many hearts in the short time that she had left... She went into the hospital on the day of her son's graduation. Although she did not see it herself, she saw it through the eyes of her sister who her son is living with now. Perhaps it was part of the bonding process between him and his aunt.
Pat's Mom ended up in ICU while Pat was in the hospital. She has had quad by-pass surgery. The stress of losing her daughter was such a strain on her. She was discharged from the hospital on the Sunday and Pat died just after midnight on Monday... her business was finished... Her death was peaceful... beautiful in a way only death can be... 

Although I did not know her long and did not know her well, we touched and changed each others lives...  I cherish the short time we had to cultivate our friendship. I suspect that had she not been dying, we might never have known each other well. Our lives were very different.

 I heard myself singing the Prayer/Song that is written above one afternoon after Pat had gone into the hospital. I felt that my spirit was singing it to hers, releasing her somehow... letting her go... 

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