For seven years my life has been a series of plans. 24/7 my life was centered around being a caregiver. As I am processing the death of Earnie since last May I am slowly coming out a fog I think I have put myself in since 2011 when Daddy and my brother, Jim, passed away. I had to go on with being strong for Earnie. Life had to happen. Mr. Bee and Miss Bee needed me. Work needed me. Ruthie and the cats needed me.
I didn’t allow myself to fully grieve their loss. I think I pushed my sadness into an invisable box to deal with another day. Eight months later I am faced with the question, “who am I. What is my role now?” I’ve read that every seven years life presents itself with a re-order of sorts. Something happens in one’s life that changes. I’m not trying to reinvent myself. I am trying to fill myself back up with more happiness than sadness. I am empty. Everyday is a new day for me. Full of hope and healing.
Last week I received the sweetest card from one of Earnie’s friends, Mary. She shared with me a dream she had had of her own mother who passed away in 2004. In the dream her mother was telling her she was okay and so happy to be in heaven. She went on to say that she knew our mothers were having the best time together with Jesus. As I was reading the card, I was trying to place in my head exactly who Mary was. I had a vague idea and thought it was probably someone from church.
I went to a United Methodist Women’s meeting on Tuesday. Earnie had been an active member of UMW ever since she was a young woman with small children. The last week of her life she was able to attend the last spring meeting of UMW. Earnie was excited for me when I became a circle leader. She would often sit in her chair and look at me and say, “you remind me so much of myself when I was a young woman. I’m very proud of you.” Attending UMW meetings is hard for me right now, because I am surrounded by so many of her beloved friends. I miss looking over at her seeing her in the crowd or sitting with her friends at lunch after the meeting. At the same time, I feel comforted by being there surrounded by so much love. It never fails that each meeting someone comes up and tells me how much they miss Earnie and what a special lady she was.
I was running late for the meeting that morning. When I walked into the room there was only one seat left. I sat down and the prettiest lady seated next to me smiled and patted me on the shoulder. When I looked down at her nametag, it was Mary. Mary Johnson. The very same Mary that sent me the card.
And God winked. And so did Earnie.