I've known Fran for 25 years. She watched me struggle through to the end of a difficult marriage. She guided me when I assumed the role of a single parent. She introduced me to a better man. She has always been on the sidelines cheering me on. I was always MORE than "good enough" in her opinion.
Visits were always encouraged. She always made time for me, and if I arrived an an in opportune time, I never knew it. She restored my sense of self worth and value.
She told be that I was HER best friend. I am sure that she told everyone the same, but she was believable...and I never doubted her word.
In her presence, my cup filled and runneth over. Is this not how every "best friend" should make you feel?
Fran is the embodiment of goodness and pure love.
She is living in a nursing home now, and today I summoned up the courage to go and visit her. I wasn't sure how I would find her, as her family told me that she had become confused, and difficult at times. Would she remember me? I fretted over that...so I silently whispered the prayer she had taught me 25 years ago.
"Is there any remover of difficulty save God? Say praised be God. He is God. All are his servants and all abide by his bidding."
I approached her and watched as she lay sleeping. How tiny she is now. At 100 years of age, she has become smaller, and more frail. She reminded me of tiny newly hatched chick...transparent...translucent....so very fragile....
We had a good visit. As I reminded her of who I was, and of who she was, she began to waken and become that person that I knew so well. We reminisced...and she did well. Her mannerisms are the same...the way she used to laugh, click her tongue and flick her finger when she was amused, returned.
I reminded Fran of the trip we made to Ottawa to visit the Peace Tower. Many years before, her father, Frank Hollister, had created the stained glass windows that adorn the Tower. She was given the red carpet treatment and was taken on a personal tour so that she could see her father's creation close up. She needed to get closer than most, as she has been legally blind for most of her life.
She told me that she remembers the trip. If she doesn't, she was very convincing.
I love you, Fran. You filled all the empty places. You still do.