Betty (A gift in the darkness)

I knew it was her last Thanksgiving.  As I helped her unwrap the handmade heart I gave her, I knew it was her last Chanukah.  I knew she wouldn’t get any more birthday wishes.  And yet, the end came unexpectedly.
 
I didn’t think our last conversation would be our last, although when I think about it now, I believe that she did. I thought I would have more warning.  Maybe I did, and I just didn’t see it.
 
Betty’s last days reminded me that we never know when it is the last time. It reminded me not to take tomorrow for granted – not my tomorrow, and not yours.  As I feel the earth spinning the days away, I recognize my mortality. 
 
My experience of Betty’s illness and passing also showed me that you could know a person for forty years, and not know them at all.  I learned that there is treasure right in front of me, if I take the time to notice.  I am choosing to notice.
 
Betty came into my life as my sister’s boyfriend’s mother.  Then she became my sister’s mother-in-law.   But, she left my life as my dear and treasured friend. 
 
The circumstances around her last seven months provided us with a considerable amount of time spent alone together. We came to realize that we had never really seen each other.  Although we had shared holidays and special events as family for many years, we had been mostly strangers.
 
This experience reminded me that there is always a treasure in the darkness.  Every injury leaves a gift.  Sometimes the cost of the gift is too high, and given the choice, we would turn it down, but there is always a gift.  I am grateful for the gift, and I miss my friend. 
 
May we always find our gift in the darkness…

7 comments

  • harry

    harry maine

    i am sad for you and your loss of a good friend. what a blessing to have those times to share with her. i can imagine the conversations you may have had; the sage advice she may have bestowed; the empathic companionship you and she may have given each other. do you think she knows how she is now affecting your friends via your blog? your writing about your experiences with her, and since, have inspired me today. thanks D

    i am sad for you and your loss of a good friend. what a blessing to have those times to share with her. i can imagine the conversations you may have had; the sage advice she may have bestowed; the empathic companionship you and she may have given each other. do you think she knows how she is now affecting your friends via your blog? your writing about your experiences with her, and since, have inspired me today. thanks D

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks Harry. I appreciate your empathy. During my visits, she liked for me to read her my stories, and she was a fan of my blog. She wanted me to finish my book about Sarah before she died, but I didn't. She wanted to read more about her as an older person. I will think about her as Sarah's story unfolds. I have wondered what she would have thought of this blog entry. I think she would have been touched, and may have even shed a tear. I know I did as I wrote it. She will always be missed...

    Thanks Harry. I appreciate your empathy. During my visits, she liked for me to read her my stories, and she was a fan of my blog. She wanted me to finish my book about Sarah before she died, but I didn't. She wanted to read more about her as an older person. I will think about her as Sarah's story unfolds. I have wondered what she would have thought of this blog entry. I think she would have been touched, and may have even shed a tear. I know I did as I wrote it. She will always be missed...

  • Denise

    Denise

    Hi Alle! I like your pinball analogy. It rings true. Thank you for always reading along. I love that you enjoy my stories. That means a lot.

    Hi Alle! I like your pinball analogy. It rings true. Thank you for always reading along. I love that you enjoy my stories. That means a lot.

  • rita lee litt

    rita lee litt calabasas california

    Your story really hit me hard...i have so many friends that have past away and i have friends that are in homes for they can't take care of themselves. (so sad) my sister is in a place called Sunrise and my brother and his wife are planning on moving into a home. they are ALWAYS ON MY MIND. It is very hard to see for what you wrote is so true. i see my sister as much as possible and i take her to her docters. It is very hard for her to walk since she broke her hip. I speak to my brother and sister very morning and every night. My brother and sister.... Lois and Marvin(also your cousins) are hard to talk to for they do not remember so many things. I have so many wonderful memories growing up and their is no one left to share my thoughts with.... i really enjoyed your stories.....i can't believe how talented you are.

    Your story really hit me hard...i have so many friends that have past away and i have friends that are in homes for they can't take care of themselves. (so sad) my sister is in a place called Sunrise and my brother and his wife are planning on moving into a home. they are ALWAYS ON MY MIND. It is very hard to see for what you wrote is so true. i see my sister as much as possible and i take her to her docters. It is very hard for her to walk since she broke her hip. I speak to my brother and sister very morning and every night. My brother and sister.... Lois and Marvin(also your cousins) are hard to talk to for they do not remember so many things. I have so many wonderful memories growing up and their is no one left to share my thoughts with.... i really enjoyed your stories.....i can't believe how talented you are.

  • Denise

    Denise

    Hi Rita. I am sorry to hear of your losses. I have often thought that as we age, we have to become more skilled at navigating losses in order to survive them, because they come more and more often. Thank you for your kind words and for always reading along. Much appreciated...

    Hi Rita. I am sorry to hear of your losses. I have often thought that as we age, we have to become more skilled at navigating losses in order to survive them, because they come more and more often. Thank you for your kind words and for always reading along. Much appreciated...

  • Debbie

    Debbie Wynnewood, PA

    I read your posting with interest, because as you know, I have a "Betty" in my life too. One day, if we are lucky, we will live as long as Betty, and we will be "Bettys" too. Maybe once Betty was a "Betty" to somebody else. Our perspective changes, depending on where we are in our lives. Here is a quote that I recently came across that somehow seems fitting to this subject matter. It was in a wonderful book I just read called "Beautiful Ruins," by Jess Walter. "There would seem to be nothing more obvious, more tangible and palpable than the present moment, And yet it eludes us completely. All the sadness of life lies in that fact." by Milan Kundera

    I read your posting with interest, because as you know, I have a "Betty" in my life too. One day, if we are lucky, we will live as long as Betty, and we will be "Bettys" too. Maybe once Betty was a "Betty" to somebody else. Our perspective changes, depending on where we are in our lives.

    Here is a quote that I recently came across that somehow seems fitting to this subject matter. It was in a wonderful book I just read called "Beautiful Ruins," by Jess Walter.

    "There would seem to be nothing more obvious,
    more tangible and palpable than the present moment,
    And yet it eludes us completely.
    All the sadness of life lies in that fact." by Milan Kundera

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thank you Debbie for your thoughtful and meaningful comments. You are right about roles changing, and the preciousness of the moment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated...

    Thank you Debbie for your thoughtful and meaningful comments. You are right about roles changing, and the preciousness of the moment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated...

Add comment