When I was 8, I made friends with a woman who was my parent’s age. We were at a potluck at church, and she just showed an interest in me.
It was Christmas. I had a little ‘calculator’ called ‘Mr. Professor.’ It was shaped like an owl and had lights in its eyes and if I got a math problem right, the eyes were green and when I was wrong, it glowed red.
She and I bonded over that little professor. I remember it well. Not as well as she does, but quite well.
In the following years, I saw her regularly and was able to confide in her. I went to a private school in 8th grade, and she started giving me clarinet lessons. She was a confidant, an encourager, a spiritual advisor, a friend. We talked about everything. Including boys.
The Marine Corps Band had weekly or bi-weekly performance and we would go. I would go with her and her husband. I just loved going with her more than anything.
She knows as much about the bible as anybody I have known. She knows church history. She taught Sunday School and was always the choirmaster for the youth.
She knew who were the best musicians and what labels the cds we bought were the best.
She did needlepoint beautifully. She always had some craft going.
She knew about furniture and her house was always beautiful to me.
She was there for my musical education. She attended my graduation from high school. She was the first person I called after I got engaged. She was there for my children’s baptisms.
The thing, though, that stands out the most is the year I was on hiatus from work. I was put on leave when I went into the hospital as suicidal. Scott was in a free fall with his kidneys and was making plans for a kidney transplant in December. I was diagnosed with my mood disorder. I had so much pain. So very much pain. She was always there. I remember during that time going to her house almost every Thursday with Joshie. He doesn’t remember it, but she kept toys for her grandsons and he played away all morning, sometimes into the afternoon.
I don’t remember what we said to each other. I just know that I needed her, and she was there. A safe harbor. I talked and cried and she prayed with me. Of all the different hats she wore for me, the spiritual guidance was the most powerful of all. All throughout our relationship, she never wavered about showing me Christ in everything.
I saw her last in 2010 on a trip from where I live in North Carolina, so her home in Northern Virginia. I have called….not as much as I should have, but I send cards. She lost her husband after I saw her last, and he was special in a totally different way. It was a loss.
I speak on the phone with her irregularly and I send cards. I know she’s in bad health and I wish I were closer to her, but I still love her and I know if we got together we would pick right up where we left off.
I am lucky to have had her in my life.