The Old Woman

Old woman
The woman in this photo is not the woman of whom I speak but the photo is much like the woman in this story.  

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.

VernaUpdate July 7, 2015  Verna died July 2.  She will be missed.


About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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One Response to The Old Woman

  1. Pingback: She Taught Me How to Swear | Peggy Guiler

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