Saturday, February 18, 2017
Today I am grateful for Marge. When we moved from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, so that Himself could work at American Olean Tile Company, Marge and her husband Ray were among the first people we met. The connection was instant and lasting. For over 30 years.
We lost Ray a while ago and have missed him ever since. Actually he is the reason I went to Indonesia with Himself, because I sure didn’t want to go and balked at the idea. But Ray said, “You HAVE to go!” I asked him why? Other people had long distance relationships, why couldn’t we? “If you don’t go, who is he going to holler at when he comes home after a bad day?” That made more sense than any argument I had heard, so I went. I blamed/thanked him for that decision many times.
After Ray’s passing, being the only “single”, Marge might have isolated herself from the group, but she didn’t and joined us for dinners and lunches and Christmas celebrations and great conversations over red wine. When she had to leave her apartment to go into assisted living and could no longer drive, she and I went for haircuts together, laughing the entire time.
Sitting in her tiny room, I asked, “So Marge, is what it comes down to?” She smiled and said, “Yup. One room! All of those beautiful things I had and now I have only this room. . .and I am lucky to be here, even though this small room makes me crazy!!!” She laughed. That was Marge. Always cheerful. Always positive. Always grateful. Even when most of us would have become surly or irritated, she was kind and pleasant. Always a joy to be around.
The last time I saw her she had been upgraded to a larger assisted living apartment. I sat with her and another friend of hers and we chatted and talked politics and laughed. She showed me the original paintings she owned that were done by a mutual friend, heel-toeing it around the room in her wheelchair. She was chipper and beautiful and sassy.
The decline happened fast. Too fast. I tried to see her but was sent away because she was having such a bad day. I felt a bug coming on and it would have been irresponsible to visit, so I didn’t. Then we had to go to Wisconsin because of my own mom’s illness and I never did get to see her again. It’s okay. I like remembering her chipper and sassy, giving me that sideways glance, then chuckling with a wicked grin.
I got the call this morning when I was at breakfast with my sister and her family. Marge is gone. She passed peacefully at 1 a.m.. I am sad, oh so very sad. A bright light has dimmed. The pain of loss is palpable, but temporary. The love is real. . .and lasting.