June 12, 2006

Peaceful

At the end of February, I wrote a post about a friend of my mother's, a woman I've known my whole life, Generous Hyper Woman. She had just been diagnosed with cancer, and her daughter Shiny Personality, who was in my grade in school, had thrown a big party so that everyone could spend time with her mother while she was still alive. That party took place on a stormy winter day, with howling winds and swirling snow, but Shiny Personality's lovely house was filled with warmth and laughter.

I can remember Opera Singer, the man who has been married to Generous Hyper Woman for 47 years, stopping me and gesturing toward the living room, where small children were running around, aunts were carrying trays of cookies, groups of relatives and friends were joking and laughing. "Can you just feel how much love is in this room?" he asked. Men of his generation are not given to expansive expressions of emotion, but he choked up several times that day as he watched his wife moving slowly through the knot of friends and family who were there to support her.

Generous Hyper Woman died yesterday.

The four months since her diagnosis have been peaceful. She and her husband have stayed at her daughter’s home, high in the hills, in a room filled with sunshine and a view of spring arriving. Close friends, like my parents, came to visit on days when she was able to talk, to sit up on the couch and recount the old stories. Her daughter, Shiny Personality, with unfailing patience, filled her last days with love and attention and warmth. Last week, when death grew near, the grandchildren came over for one last visit. My parents went over for one last conversation. Relatives flew back from all over the country for one last visit. The room filled with flowers. Her three adult children and her husband were with her as she slid into death.

29 comments:

will smama said...

Lord, hear our prayer...

Flavia said...

Oh, that we might all exit the world so peacefully and enveloped in such love.

I'm sorry for your loss.

peripateticpolarbear said...

what a beautiful death...

What Now? said...

If only we could all slide into death so peacefully. What a blessing to have such a warm family and group of friends around her.

elsewhere said...

That's sad. I'm afraid I just cracked up when I read the name 'Generous Hyper Woman.' But the rest of it was sad. Thanks for sharing the tough stuff.

Scrivener said...

It sounds like a very good way to die. Godspeed Generous Hyper Woman on her newest journey.

Friday Mom said...

A beautiful death...

Jody said...

I'm sorry for your loss. I wish all our deaths could be so filled with love, and comfort.

Phantom Scribbler said...

(o)

Liesl said...

It is sad that someone who was so loved had to leave the world so soon. I'm sorry for your loss.

Kate said...

I'm sorry to hear it, jo(e). I am glad that her family could be with her.

kabbage said...

so much love.... Many blessings to Generous Hyper Woman, Opera Singer, their daughter Shiny Personality and all her siblings and the grandchildren. How lovely she was able to live until spring arrived.

kate5kiwis said...

far out jo(e).
i love your names for people, they do come alive:
"generous hyper woman"
"shiny personality"
so much warmth and love in that family, so much overflow of sunshine.
i am all choked up.
what a blessing to have been all gathered together during the last few months, days, moments.
yes, so much love.

zelda1 said...

Jo(e) I'm so sorry for your friend and your loss. I hope as time passes so will the pain.

Beth said...

What a wonderful post. Generous Hyper Woman sounded like she was a wonderful, lovely person. My father passed away last year, after battling cancer. He was very private, and therefore did not see many people in the last few weeks of his life. It was the way he wanted it, but I love what her family did.

BTW, you have a wonderful blog.

Wol said...

May we all be blessed with such care and love at the end of our days.

Yankee T said...

Sounds like a lovely final sleep.
You write beautifully and have wonderful friends.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jo(e). I'm sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to Generous Hyper Woman you have written.

SuperB

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

(o)

joanna said...

How fortunate she was to have had such a peaceful and loving death.

ccw said...

What a beautiful post.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Bitty said...

If there were an icon for tears with a smile, I'd post it. That's what's on my face right now.

That large circle of family and friends is in my prayers. May the coming weeks and months be gentle to you.

halloweenlover said...

It sounds like she had the most wonderful life. Peace to her family.

liz said...

Thank you for this beautiful post and for sharing Generous Hyper Woman with us.

I'm sorry for the loss of such a loved woman.

Hugs and kisses.

BeachMama said...

Sorry for the loss, how beautiful that her last months were filled with so much love.

listmaker said...

(o)

kathy a said...

(((( joe(e) )))))

jo(e) said...

Hey, kathy a: Thanks for the hug. I just got home from the funeral, decided to sit down at my computer, and your comment popped up. Perfect timing.

Mieke said...

Now that's the way to go. Your town must have magic drinking water in it or something. It sounds like another world from the one I live in.