A few years ago I wrote about Claire. Claire was the mom of a boy I knew back in high school, dare I say, 35 years ago. I didn’t know her back then. I hadn’t met her until just about ten years ago. Living in a small town, we’d run into each other from time to time.
Every time I saw Claire, whether it was at a holiday craft fair, or even bumping into her at a dance recital, she was smiling. Always smiling. And not a quaint, tight lipped sort of smile – No, Claire’s smile was always grand. She had a way of making you feel as if you were the only person in the room. She had a way of making you feel good about yourself, after just spending a few minutes with her.
We’d always hold hands and catch up like old friends…she’d ask about my children, and gush over her grandchildren. We’d talk about the what ifs, and what could have beens…we’d talk about just about everything. I came to love, respect and admire her.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, I wrote about her, as I’m doing now, because it’s the only way I know to process such hard feelings. I write. I couldn’t believe someone so incredible, so full of joy, so full of life…could be stricken with such a horrible fate.
So I decided to go see her in the nursing home. I wanted to spend time with her. It had been some time since I’d bumped into her in town, and I didn’t even know if she’d recognize or remember me, but as I walked into her room, she turned her head and saw me. It took a few seconds and just as I was about to say, “It’s me…Dolly” she reached out for my hand and smiled that smile.
We talked for hours and she vowed to get better and come see me in my little boutique. I hugged her hard and told her I’d hold her to that. As I walked out, she blew me a kiss and I did the same.
That was the last time I’d see Claire.
This week, Claire passed.
Her love of family, her faith, her generous and loving heart made her an angel on earth. Now she takes her rightful place in Heaven.
Goodbye my dear – until we meet again.