|Wilma Lynn Roberts, 1944|
When I received the call yesterday that my cousin Lynn was dying, I was thrown momentarily into shock. While I had not seen her in a little over a year, our last visit had been such a delightful one that it was difficult to think of her in any terms except how she was that day.
My sister and I had made the 100-mile journey to the retirement center where she lived last spring, and took her for an outing. She picked Red Lobster when we asked where she wanted to eat, and afterwards we took her over to her old house, where we sat and visited in her comfortable, familiar living room before taking her back to the tiny but homey room where she now lived.
It was a good visit. Lynn was her usual cheerful self—fun-loving, cracking jokes, teasing, but also talking seriously about things that were important to her. She talked of her family and what each one was doing. Make no mistake, she knew exactly where everyone was and what they were up to. Her pride and joy in each one of them was evident, as always. She was overjoyed to have spent the day with us, and we shared good conversation before leaving for our drive home. It seemed at the time that she would be with us for years to come because her health was reasonably good and her mind was sharp, especially for an 82-year-old.
So the news yesterday that she had taken a very sudden turn for the worse was a shock to us. We drove immediately the thirty miles to the hospital where she had been admitted. She was sleeping restlessly, and seeing her in that hospital bed, unaware of our presence, was a difficult sight to grasp. Before we left, Lynn was awakened by the nurse on duty, and we got to speak to her briefly. She knew who we were, and seemed to understand what we were saying and tried to make conversation with us. The comprehension was evident in those beautiful blue eyes of hers, even as she faced her last few hours. She left this earth and set foot in the next life six hours later.
So many memories surge through my mind when I think of Lynn. She was nineteen years older than I, and married just a few months after I was born. Consequently, her children were my peers, and I knew her only as their mom for a long time. They filled that cousin role far more than she did. But as an adult, we became friends and even though I was seldom around to visit with her, she welcomed me each time I came as if I were the very person she most wanted to see.
Lynn related to people that way. She was a warm lady, always welcoming and wanting people to feel at ease in her presence. As a child, I remember my family spending so many holidays and gatherings at her home, and she obviously loved to entertain. She enjoyed people, children in particular, and I have no doubt that those youngsters in her classroom at Farwell Elementary were blessed beyond measure by her care and commitment to building their character.
A few years ago, my sister and I arranged to go spend the day with Lynn one Saturday in October, and since it was Halloween, we stopped and bought masks along the way. When we stopped in her driveway, we put on our masks, grabbed some bags to use for Trick or Treat, and rang her doorbell. When she opened the door, we shouted “TrickerTreat” as loud as we could and stuck out our bags. She howled with laughter, and we stepped inside and gave her a mask of her own to wear. We have a hilarious photo (see below) of the three of us sitting on her couch, grinning and wearing our Halloween masks. It was the sort of thing that tickled her, and we had a great time that day.
It is inconceivable that she is not here anymore; I was not finished being with her and enjoying her company! There were more things I wanted to talk to her about . . . more times I wanted to catch that twinkle in her eye or ask her more stories about our Linn grandparents. Isn’t that the way it always is? Those who are the most special people on earth are those who have never worn out their welcome! We simply are not finished with them yet, and we mourn when they leave us.
But for Lynn, if we believe what we say we believe, this is the best of times! She believed in God her whole life, and long ago committed herself to Him. She learned stories about Jesus from her parents, and taught them to her own children. She “walked the walk” in ways that proved to all who knew her that she had found the secret to a godly life, and was not about to let it get away from her. She knew where she was going after death, and I believe was looking forward to being there. I can imagine her big blue eyes are wide with joy and awe as she takes in the sights of heaven, and reunites with loved ones who are already there. And for that, I am a little envious. I will miss her here, but I will be laughing and singing with her someday in her new home.
Thank you, Father God, for sending this special one to live on earth and love us, and for the opportunity to love her back.