A friend just called and apologized for not coming over to see Betty today -- she only had one visitor today, and that was probably enough in any case. My friend was pretty broken up about not coming over, though. He was remembering the loss of his parents, first his father and then his mother, and how much it took out of him and yet how much he gained from being there for them when he could be, staying with his father for his final days. He said he couldn't handle his emotions if he'd seen Betty again; it would have been too much. "Is she hanging on?" Yes, I said. Barely. "She looks like she's sleeping normally..."
But she is definitely on a journey.
As we talked on the phone, I could tell my friend was bawling his eyes out. Sometimes it's best just to let loose like that. I know when the priest came yesterday it was pretty constant tears around here, but Betty could hear us testifying about so many of the wonderful things she'd done for us and the special spiritual gifts she'd given us. And she smiled that astonishing smile of hers, and she let us know she liked hearing us say how good she was!
Well, she was and is. So there.
Betty's been on that journey several times before, but she's never quite reached her goal. She said she saw her son on that journey once, a son who'd been killed by a drunk driver while he was helping a motorist change a tire beside the road almost 40 years ago, and she said he told her, "Momma, it's not time yet, you have to go back, but I'll be here to meet you when it is the right time." She's seen her mother and her father, and she says she thinks she's seen her little brother who died when he was three years old. She's described her experiences there, "in that place", in great detail, and she's had no fear of going there again. No fear at all.
And we're very grateful for that.
When "T" was here this morning, Betty was still able to communicate, to share a few words, to smile, to listen to stories. And that was good. It was a fine morning.
Tomorrow? We can't know. But Betty has been letting us know that she's OK and she's going to be OK.
Bless her heart.