"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Death of a friend

Louise, photo taken at her 50th wedding anniversary in August.
Today we lost the kindest, sweetest, friendliest person to ever walk the Earth. Louise died today ending a long, long battle with breast cancer. Right up to the end Louise was filled with light. When she could no longer speak for herself, her husband invited friends in to say goodbye, an act of kindness and generosity so they could experience that light one more time.

I "met" Louise at least twenty-five years ago. I say "met" because it wasn't a face-to-face meeting, rather a conversation we had over the phone. I had her eldest son in class at the time and Louise was concerned for him due to the nature of my class. She had just learned that she had breast cancer, and my class, Health, covered topics which might trigger sadness/anger/concern in her son. We spoke several times and I promised to keep an eye out for Micheal's mental health. I did. In a way, the experience helped me bond with Michael and one of his friends in a special relationship, one that remained intact for several years after he left my class.

Louise survived that first bout with cancer, though the treatment was brutal and took a big toll on her health. I finally met Louise in person several years later when she started attending my church. I think, but I am not positive, it was Michael who brought his mom to church. His friend, the one from Health class, was in our youth group so it would make sense that Michael came with him. Anyway, Louise came with her boys and hasn't left until today.

Louise and her husband Jim, were both elementary teachers before retirement. Louise loved kids and her smile when she talked about them, tells me that they loved her back. We had teaching in common but she was sweet whereas I was snarky...the difference between elementary and secondary teachers. Over the years she has maintained a deep friendship with her team of teachers from her last school. In fact many of these friends attended her 50th wedding anniversary party on August and remarked about what a good day Louise had and how radiant she looked. The photo I've used was taken of Louise on that day.
One of Louise's last sewing projects. She made these stuffed cows for a grandson who wants to be a farmer.
I knew Louise best through our membership in our church book club. Louise loved to read and made such insightful comments when we discussed our monthly selections. She and I both loved Lousie Erdrich books. Until this moment I hadn't thought about the name similarity. Of course, she loved a book by another Louise! The last time I was with Louise was at our August meeting. She shared with me that the doctors had nothing new to treat her disease and that she was concerned about the blood transfusion she'd be getting later that week. Otherwise, we talked about her grandchildren, her latest quilting project, and just small talk. Louise didn't want people to feel sorry for her. She'd been battling this recurrence of cancer for five years. She may have thought it boring to talk about cancer treatments. It was a lot more fun to talk about the cow-quilt dolls she had just finished for a grandson who wants to grow up to be a farmer, even though he lives in an urban setting and has never spent any time on a farm. She was doing what she knew how to help make his dream come true. When she left that club meeting she took with her a book for the upcoming month. Louise was always looking into the future with hope and determination.

Last night when book club met again, we talked about Louise and how much she meant to all of us. Then we bowed our heads and prayed for her, for her family, for a peaceful passing. We are a Christian group. We believe in life everlasting. We believe she is in a better place, one not plagued with cancer. But last night, with our prayer, we were all just thinking about losing a friend and how much we will miss her, Louise our sweet friend.

 This is a favorite poem set to music. The rose beyond the wall, shedding sweetness day and night.

Goodbye, dear  Louise. I know you are shedding your sweetness beyond the wall now and we shall meet again some day.


27 comments:

  1. I'm so very sorry to read this, but you've written about her beautifully and lovingly. Do I know her? Did her husband teach in the QUEST program? Last name start with a K?

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  2. From a friend: Adele Price--- Thank you Anne for posting this wonderful tribute to our sweet Louise. I will miss her terribly!

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  3. From a friend: Carol Godinez--- Anne, I have not known Louise as long as you have. But reading this ( with tears running down my face) let’s me feel that I have known her forever. Such a sweet, loving person. I am so blessed to have known her.

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  4. From a friend: Jan Eidson--- Thank you Anne for putting to words how we all feel about Louise. She was truly a “light” and we are all so much better for having known her. We will see her again. ❤️

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  5. From a friend: Frances Miller--- Anne, this touched my heart. Thank you. Louise was the best of all the best. I loved her dearly.

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  6. From a friend and her pastor: Heather James--- Anne, I’m moved by your thoughtful tribute. Thank you to you, and the other book club women, who have loved well and walked this long walk with Louise.

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  7. From a friend: Sue Noon--- So sweet, so true! Love you Louise!

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  8. From her husband: Jim Knowles--- Thank you for this. It was beautiful.

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  9. Dear Anne.....what a wonderful tribute to Louise! You captured the essence of her entire being in your heartfelt message. She had so many gifts but her gift of friendship was felt by all. Thank you for, so lovingly, recalling and writing, about your life exposure to our school friend....she was loved, will be missed, but whole again, soaring with the angels. Ted and Patrice Linde

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  10. From a friend: Patrice Linde--- What a tribute, thank you Anne...what a keeper, just like our friend Louise

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  11. From and friend: Our sweet friend, Louise. Everything you said, Anne, is so true. I especially was touched by the courage with which she faced this latest battle. How fortunate we were to be witnesses to her loving life and faith.

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    1. Yes, she really did model dignity in living and in dying.

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  12. From a friend: Teresa Noll--- Louise gave me hope in the years when Carson was so difficult. I had Mark as a student when he was in jr. high, and I adored him. Little did I know he'd been a very difficult little boy. Louise told me to keep praying, and keep being the best mom I could, and eventually things would get better. She was right, of course. Her wisdom and guidance got me through a very dark time. I miss her already. <3

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  13. From a friend: Gina Gaines Sharp--- Louise provided a listening ear and voice of comfort and hope in a time when most had abandoned me. I will never, ever forget what a beautiful person she was. I miss her.

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  14. Friends: Fran and Greg Killpack---
    What a beautiful, and so very true, tribute to Louise. She will be missed❣

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  15. Kelli Campbell Pelphrey--- Wish I’d had an opportunity to tell her how much she meant to me.... left a huge impact on my life, especially during those hard teenage high school days. She’ll be missed greatly!

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  16. Adele Price Louise--- was so caring and attentive to me when my husband had his stroke. She called me every day when he was in the hospital and then was devastated when she was too sick to attend his memorial. As soon as she was well enough she came over to view the slide show and hear all about it. I will miss so many things about my friend. I will miss our long phone conversations, sitting beside her in church, sharing stories about our grandkids, our monthly lunches with the Sunrise Girls, hearing her laugh (which I did hear for the last time on the 11th of September), being in book club together, and most of all I will miss her special friendship. It was an honor to be her friend.

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    1. You were lucky to have a good friend like Louise, but she was lucky to have a good friend like you, too.

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  17. I am so sorry that you lost such a dear friend; she sounds like a wonderful woman. Even when we know that passing means no more pain, it is still so difficult for those left behind.

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  18. From a friend: Nancy Davis Huffman--- A beautiful sentiment for a sweet and beloved woman. Louise touched so many hearts.

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  19. Linda Harris Elkins · (Friends with Jim Knowles) says---
    Thank you for sharing this love filled tribute to our beautiful “sister” Louise🙏🏼💕🌹

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  20. From a friend---Kim Randall--- Louise was an amazing wealth of love an encouraging wisdom.

    Many times she held my hand and said don't give up on my baby girl ever, because she will come out of this and be who God made her to be. She was so right. Love the encouraging spirit.

    Her heart for serving others really came through when we went to New Orleans to work and then I got to experience her contagious joy at Carol's house dedication!

    Love you my friend!

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  21. From one of my friends, Sharon May--- So sorry to hear of the loss of a good friend. You always had a way with words & your description of your friendship was very touching.💕

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  22. From a friend, Roxanne Johnson--- I felt a bond with Louise. I think because we both had cancer.

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