Ah, Ethel, I remember, I remember. And remembering, I miss you, still . . .
She would have liked it. The service she so carefully planned. We all did our best, and I could almost see her peering over the edge of Glory saying, “You’d better get it RIGHT!” (We tried, Dear Friend, we tried!)
I have been trying to remember how it was that we became friends. There were so many years of laughter and suppers out and confidences shared and good, good times.
I remember one time while Certain Man was still a self employed plumber that we girls, Ethel and I, decided to go out for lunch together. This was something we never did without our husbands, but we felt like doing something different for a change, so we made our plans and were amused at our husbands’ exaggeratedly aggrieved airs. They made some mention of having a secret of their own, but these fellows often made such statements that were intended to arouse curiosity. We settled ourselves comfortably in the restaurant of our choice on this particular day, and had just gotten our salads, when who should come down the aisle but our two men. We were both surprised, but even more astonished when they continued past our table, on around the restaurant to a table on the other side. (They had gotten the hostess to take them on this deliberate parade around the restaurant) There they ate their lunch with the highest, mightiest air imaginable. We thought maybe they came to be nice to us (NOPE!) or to pay our lunch for us. (They didn’t.) We thought maybe they wanted us to come join them. (Negatory!) Something!!! We could hardly believe that they were miffed about us going out without them. (They were!) We secretly thought it was pretty funny, but I suppose you could say the guys won that one. We never did that again.
The road was not all easy. We didn’t always understand each other, and sometimes, understanding, chose different ways of responding. I am so thankful for these last few years when we could reconnect, forgive each other, learn to extend grace to each other, and there, found a friendship that was was rich and full and rewarding.
Ah, my Ethel Friend. You were a friend that sharpened me as iron sharpens iron. You made me think, you made me go back again and again to God’s Holy Word to see just what it REALLY said. You were full of courage, you didn’t ever consider anything more important than TRUTH, and you were never afraid of confrontation. I can truly say that I do not remember a time when you were cowed by what people thought.
You were strong. You were consistent. You were beautiful. You loved JR and John and Brian and Evanna and Brianna and Briar with a love that sought their good, knew them intrinsically, and in the harsh, heartbreaking knowledge of your soon homegoing, equipped them for life without you, and made incredible memories.
Today, surrounded by so many people whom you loved and who loved you, I find my heart so numb. The busy-ness of these last few days was easier for me than the waiting of the last few weeks. There was finally something to DO besides wait. But in that busy-ness, I feel a numbness, a sense of the surreal. Right now, I am so thankful that you are done with this old world and its heartache and pain and suffering and disappointment and grief and loss. But there will be a time — No, there will be many times when I will look for that smile, when I will listen for that inimitable voice that so often said, “Yes, but, Mary Ann——-!!!!” and I will miss the friendship of a gal whose very difference from me gave me reason to love her.
I’ll see you in The Morning!
6 responses to “. . . And now, the actual post from January 31, 2007”
Such a loooong time ago … and oh, how I miss her!!! And I know I’m not the only one. But, you know, if she was peering over the edge of Glory at us 5 years ago, she was more likely saying, “It’s not rocket science, people!” Her and I planned all that in October – not so it’d be “right”, but because it was one more thing “done” that wouldn’t need doing later. It was horribly hard to do, but even so, we laughed alot. How else do you manage such a task?? I can not wait to see Mom again!!!!
Ethel has been on my heart often these days.. thanks Mary Ann and Evanna.She was my friend, too.. and I loved her. And I miss her.
What a nice tribute to a good friend.
As this has bounced around in my mind, it has occurred to me that my “It’s not rocket science, people” sounds harsh so I thought I’d clarify. “It’s not rocket science” was what Mom said so.very.often. in the last months … probably more like a year. As she was teaching me all the things I needed to know or do … when I would get stuck, it was “It’s not rocket science.” We so often make things harder than they have to be and so many things just don’t matter quite like we think they do at the time. That’s what I meant. And her voice in my head so often reminds me that “it’s not rocket science!” And her voice, that comes out my mouth to my kids says it, too. It’s such a good reminder!
You have such a talent for writing thoughts we ALL have at one time or the other. Can’t imagine those fellows in the restaurant. (o; Too funny!!! That wouldn’t have bothered my Don. We often ate alone in a restaurant. We farm some acreage several miles from where we live…..7 or 8, and it’s closer to a little restaurant in that area than to come home for lunch, so that’s often where he ate. Me too. I’ve had friends who have lost their mates say, “I just don’t go out to eat alone.” Don and I were so used to it, it never bothered me after he was gone.
Yes, it’s not rocket science. What a glorious gift she gave to you Evanna, in those words. And to you, Mary Anne, in her friendship.