Dear Ruth, 21 Feb 2015
I'm glad Donna sent the next rose to you. It was a delight to visit with you. I loved your china cabinet covered with photos of your numerous posterity. They are lucky to have you for a grandma, great-grandma, and great-great-grandma. Here is the picture I took of you. You can tape it up on the cabinet if you'd like.
I'm writing from St. George. Tonight I delivered a rose to your brother as you requested. (Of course I was already planning a trip here to visit my parents.) His wife answered the door and invited me in.
Cliff looked comfortable in his blue and green plaid pajamas in the La-z-boy recliner. A Lawrence Welk re-run was on, but your brother was sleeping. I wasn't sure she should, but Shirley woke him up to give him the rose. She told him it was from you. He took it and mumbled something that I couldn't make out. His wife asked him if he needed more pain medicine. She must have heard (or felt) a yes because she got her syringe and squirted some morphine under his tongue. He went back to sleep. I held his hand for a moment. I couldn't help it. I just wanted to be near this sweet man.
Shirley put the flower in a vase and invited me to sit. I noticed the half-finished afghan on the couch. Shirley says she knits, crochets, embroiders, and tats to stay occupied. Looking over at her husband, she told me she'd go out of her mind watching him die if she didn't have something to do. Did you know it is their 64th wedding anniversary this very day? To stifle the tears, she quickly turned our attention back to the crafts. "Would you like to see the tablecloth I embroidered when I was 6 years old?" Of course I would.
For almost an hour I humbly admired several hand made items. My favorite was a quilt she was making using an old Golden Book coloring book as a pattern for the animals.
Every time she left the room to retrieve another item, I looked over at Cliff. I wished he didn't have to wear that oxygen tube. You told me yourself it can be uncomfortable at times. But he did look peaceful. His coloring was good. I wished I could take his picture to send to you, but it didn't seem appropriate.
I thought about your parents who are in heaven, probably ready to greet Cliff when he arrives. Did they really have 11 children? I'm glad you told me their story about coming from Germany. They sure sacrificed a lot for their faith in God.
As Shirley settled back into her seat, she picked up one of her projects and began crocheting. She was almost finished. "There we go," she said as she cut the yarn and worked the end through the piece. "All done. It's a scrubby for your dishes, and I'm giving it to you."
I thanked her with a hug, and we said goodbye. I knew in my heart that God loved this couple. Not just loved them, but cherished them.
I know God loves and cherishes you, too, Ruth. Thank you for letting me into your life. Thank you for sending me to your brother and sister-in-law. May God be with you until we all meet again.