Today I went to hospital to visit the mother of my dearest friend. This woman has been through much. She lost her mother to suicide as a young woman and then her daughter (my friend) about 20 years ago. Last year another daughter died suddenly from stomach cancer.
The woman before me in the bed was the same woman who laughed and played with me as a child. She was the woman I saw dance her heart out in a theatre production. She is the beauty who’s photos captivated me and made me smile. She was an amazing beauty in her youth.
I was blessed to have her as a neighbour. She was not a perfect person by far but she has always been honest and caring. She worked hard in her home to raise her three children and I can still smell the fresh bread as it was lifted from the oven.
She always had time for us. Time to show us how things were done. Time to explain things to us. She knew I didn’t really enjoy being at home much so she let me play late and had me come back after supper.
She has always been an active person. She went back to school in her 40’s and was self taught in the art of playing the stock market. She was smart and a clear thinker, examining all the angles. Someone I have always admired even though others may not have thought much of some her life choices. .
She loved deeply and her grand daughters hovering over her and making sure she has everything she needs is testimony to that. She has always been passionate and opinionated and frank. Perhaps I learned that from her.
When I looked at the wrinkled hands and face, the protruding chin and the sunken eyes I could not see her as frail and failing.
Her laughter isn’t as hearty as it used to be and her wit not as sharp but to me she will always be the lovely woman I knew as a child. She will always be the brokenhearted woman who stood with me beside her daughter’s casket. She will always be the woman who came to me when I lost my son to suicide. She threw her arms around me with abandon and we wept for our shared loss. She alone knew my pain.
As I left that room today I cried because whatever she is, whatever she has been, however others may judge her or see her, she is one person who I know has loved me and made me a better person for having her in my life.
I love her and all I can see is the beauty which is truly her.