Thursday, June 5, 2008

Best Friends Forever

My mother-in-law from my previous marriage (she's on the right) continues to live by herself in
a little house in OK. City. She has some health issues (she can't hear very well or see very well
any more. She's very weak, but can still walk without too much difficulty. Her husband died
many years ago; in the last 6 years both of her children have died. She doesn't have very much
family living in OKC, really only a niece and her husband and their daughter's family. However,
she has enjoyed a wonderful friendship with a lady who lives across the street from her. Her
name is Naomi. She is a retired nurse, and has written some poems and articles for magazines.

She is a delightful person, a very positive thinker, and has been a wonderful friend and support
for Gloria. However, Naomi is severely handicapped physically, and is now pretty much confined
to a wheelchair. She has been living alone also, but now she is going to go live with her daughter
in Indiana. This has been devastating to my mother-in-law. She really feels like she is about
her only friend in the world. She and I have a good relationship, but I live in Indiana, so I can't
be there for her on a regular basis. When Naomi realized she would be moving, she wrote a
tribute to her friend Gloria. I would like to include a little of it on this blog.

"It's often difficult to define what actually makes up a friendship. It means different things to different people. For me it can be summed up in one word--Gloria.
Gloria was born August 3, 1922 in a small farming community. At the age of 9 her father died and her life took on a big change. By age 11 Gloria was boarded out to work with other families. They moved often, and because of that she missed out on a lot of formal schooling.
At a day out at Riverview Park, Gloria met a young soldier, Frank Lavin. They were married in 1942. They had 2 children.
During the years Frank served overseas, Gloria continued to work. She was an excellent seamstress and cook; she often worked as a waitress, and managed a school cafeteria. Her husband died at age 45, so Gloria spent most of her life working and managing alone. She came to OKC to care for her daughter when she became ill. I met Gloria when her daughter passed away. Her son also passed away during this time.
Goria's family and friends mean a lot to her. She continues to communicate with those back in Illinois. When she speaks of them or has a phone call or letter, her face lights up and her eyes sparkle.
Who do you know who bakes the best rolls or makes the best chicken and noodles? What friend do you have that makes potato salad, and takes out a bowl for you before adding onions, because she know you don't like them? There is never a need to ask 'what would Jesus do'--Gloria just does it!
We shared many many hours of talking and laughing, watching the clouds, drinking coffee, and playing with our kittens and waiting for Jesus to come. We took art classes together and found pieces of wood to paint on.
When I no longer could go out or walk, Gloria came to my house almost every day. During the worst ice storm she risked walking over to bring me a bowl of warm beans because she knew I hadn't gone to the store. When I'm sick, she brings me chicken soup.
My sister and mother passed away just 3 months apart. The day of the funeral, Gloria cooked me lunch and sat with me all morning. I could never pick a better friend. She cheers me up when I'm sad, listens to my problems and is never critical or judgmental.
I'm leaving soon to move back north. There is no one I will miss more than Gloria. No one has been a better friend. We won't get to wait for Jesus together on our porch, but no matter which of us goes first, remember this: { Beyond the shadows of time, There's a celebration of life. Wait for me there.}

I couldn't decide what to leave out, so I included all of it. I was recently in OKC and had awonderful visit with Gloria. She is such a great lady and we shared memories. Her friend,Naomi will be sorely missed.

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