A couple of months ago, I wrote a memorial for a friends wife. While he held her memorial this weekend, I am feeling the loss of another friend, and preparing to help her family say good-bye to her in a few days.
The last time I saw Frances was two weeks ago, and I will never forget it. You see, Frances was more than my friend. She was also my boss. I have worked for her and her family for nearly seven years as a minister for their chapel, which also happens to be in their home. At first, I was a back-up minister, one of a few of us, so I wasn’t over very often, every few months. But every time I was called over, Frances greeted me at the door with a huge smile, and a big hug, calling out “My Friend!”
Within a few years, I became the primary minister, and for awhile, the only minister on staff. I started coming over so often, Frances would leave the door unlocked for me, I met the family, checking in on the kids and grand-kids regularly. We would have conversations with extended family members all sitting around the kitchen table, and often a pot of beans on the stove. She was also one of the biggest supporters of my starting this blog.
When Frances got sick last year, I came home and cried. I cried for the loss I knew I would feel, and the loss for the family. I cry now because I will never get one of her big hugs again, I will never smell her beans cooking again. I will never see the flowers her daughter sends her, or hear her son yelling, “Ma, … “, again. I cry because the world has lost an angel, and for the family that has lost the wife, the mother, the grandmother, sister and aunt who was the glue that held everything together. Frances was so strong that the last time I saw her was the only time I ever saw her cry.
A few months ago, I asked Frances why she put up with me. I was only half-joking, and it was a conversation just like we had always had before. She had never answered me before. This time, she turned around, looked at me and said, “You’re honest.”, and went back to cooking. That was pure Frances. To see the truth about someone, to see the part that no one else wanted, and be the one person who loved that part of someone.
After I got the news last week, even though we expected it, I was still in shock for a few days. Today though, here’s my truth, and my newest Frances story. The last couple of years, Frances had been prone to losing her glasses, sometimes for a few months at a time. A couple of days after she passed, I was sitting at home, thinking about her. I know that it was only her shell that passed, and she is in the afterlife, with her sister-in-law, when things got real peaceful for a minute, and I heard Frances’ voice in my heart, saying, “Now I don’t have to wear those damn glasses!”
I love you, Frances. I miss seeing you. But thank you for letting me know that there is another Angel in Heaven watching over all of us.