Tonight, Mick and I are in Laguna Niguel getting ready to go to the Age Well Signature Gala at the Ritz Carlton. It’s called an Evening with Frank Sinatra and supports Orange County’s senior services. I’m told it’s like a Senior’s Prom. Not Senior like High School, but Senior like, well I guess us…but Prom non-the-less.
It’s been a tough week, a rough few days. Two nights ago, we went to see our dear friend Barbara in the hospital. She was nearing the end of her battle with cancer. After being cancer-free for 3 years, it returned with a vengeance.
Last year, as Barbara’s husband Tom was dying from Acute Leukemia, I shared some of this story. 11 years ago, Mick and I joined a new bible study. This was like a power group. These were “seasoned” Christians, they knew bible, knew scripture, debated points and at times challenged the teaching pastors!! Wow were they even allowed to do that??
We were “baby” Christians and honestly, they sort of freaked us out but we soaked it up. Within the group were Tom and Barbara. They are some 10+ years our seniors. Barbara was outgoing, caring and sassy. Tom was quiet, serious and witty. Six months after we met them, we went thru a serious financial hit. One day we came home to a simple card with an “anonymous” $500 check to bless us and help us thru.
This was our first experience with Christian grace. We were somewhat dumbfounded that someone would just send us $500. They told us when we were back on our feet to just pass it on. Over the years, we have passed it on many, many times over.
Losing Tom last year was devastating, it shattered my heart. He was my mentor, my advisor and my friend. He was a Marine, a man’s man and a man after God’s own heart. I looked up to him, admired him and loved him.
So Thursday night, we sat with Barbara. She was now making the shift to hospice. Mick and I chatted while our friend Marcia rubbed her feet and back. We told random stories and laughed as Marcia shared her silliness. Barbara smiled. It was a sweet time.
Over the years, I have grown to love, admire and most importantly rely on Barbara. She is my friend, my mentor, my confidant. I do not collect friends easily, but Barbara was always, always there for me. And I, in turn, tried to always be there for her.
As we left, we each said our goodbyes. First Marcia, then Mick. Mick told her to give Tom a hug for him, and she said she’d say hello to Mick’s brother. As they stepped aside, I hugged my friend and kissed her cheek. Tears fell and all I could say was that she’d been the best of friends and I loved her. I told her to kiss Tom for me.
She told me not to come back to see her as she’d be gone. She knew where she was going. She also knew she’d meet Jesus and reunite with her one true love. Early this morning, Barbara passed away. She was 72.
We love you both and will miss you with all our hearts. The blessings you brought into our lives just with your presence is impossible to express. You brought joy, love and were an example to follow.
Tonight, as Mick and I are dancing to Frank Sinatra, Tom and Barbara will be dancing to Frank as well … only difference is Frank will be singing live.