Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Visit

An old friend of ours stopped by yesterday for a visit and shared our dinner with us.  We were happy to see him again, and have known him and his family since 1967.  He is a widower and lives a 3 hour drive southeast of us, while six of his eight children live a 2 1/2 hour drive to the north.  So he will often stop by on his way there or back again.

He's in his early eighties, but is in pretty good shape, having lost 34 pounds over the last year, which helps control his type II diabetes.  He lives alone and does all his own cooking, housework and yardwork.  Like Jim, he's a transplanted Dutchman, and like so many of them, just can't sit around doing nothing, but needs, as Jim says, a reason to get up in the morning.

His wife died six years ago following an operation on a brain aneurism.  She was expected to survive, but during the operation the surgeon discovered a large hardened area of previous bleeds from the aneurism, and it proved inoperable.  It was a big shock to the family to lose her like that.  We attended her funeral and it was particularly moving, since their family was close and loving and well supported by faith in God and a good and helpful congregation.

Yesterday he spoke with us about the whole experience.  I was very moved by his words and the calm yet sad way in which he spoke.  Theirs was a loving relationship, and though they had not always had smooth sailing, they had a good life together and with their eight children, and now many grandchildren.

After the meal was finished we sat at the table for a long time recalling incidents and people from our shared past.  He said a few times that he should be going, but seemed reluctant to leave.  When he did leave he said, Well, if I don't see you again here (on earth) I will see you (and he pointed upward).  It seemed that he really felt he was saying a final goodbye to us.

I felt touched and sobered by his remarks and his obvious feelings of friendship and leave-taking.  We are coming to a time of farewells in life.  If he is still living a year from now, I think we should go especially to visit him.  It's the relationships in life that have lasting meaning and it's the relationships that need to be cared for while we are still around to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment