Mimi – It’s what her adorable grandchildren call her.
I wrote about her HERE when the 5th was born a few years ago.
I call her Evelyn.
She was assigned to be my CCD teacher’s aide randomly.
Or maybe not so random?
I believe now it was more of Divine Providence at work,
knowing I needed someone like Evelyn in my life,
Evelyn had such a devotion to Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus.
I was in my late 30s, she in her early 50s.
I had a 4th grader and a 7th grader, both girls.
She had a married son, a daughter in her 30s and a son finishing grad school.
I learned so much from being with her.
I learned, through her actions, how devoted she was to her husband.
“Too June Cleaver for me” others might judge.
But I appreciated someone showing how to be supportive of a smart businessman.
I learned, through her actions, about beauty.
She was traveling in France when my oldest graduated high school.
The biggest, most exquisite bouquet of flowers arrived from her.
I can still see that vase on the coffee table, its beauty filling my small, little house.
Thinking now, their exquisiteness matched my oldest’s dreams.
She was headed to an Ivy league school to an world bigger than one I knew.
Evelyn’s flowers were the perfect foreshadowing.
Evelyn’s travels were the perfect foreshadowing of my youngest who lives in France now.
As the years went on, we stayed friends.
I loved being invited over for brunch.
I loved being in her bright, warm home.
I loved sipping tea and eating her simple brunch fare.
I loved hearing about her grandkids and sharing photos.
We both had a LOVE of books.
She’d share The New York Times Bestselling list with me.
I’d share the latest read-aloud picture books her grandkids would enjoy.
Her illness manifested first through her lack of words.
She just couldn’t retrieve the word at the end of the sentence.
Soon, only a word at a time would come.
I wrote about one such time HERE.
Last week, she took a turn for the worst.
A hospital bed was placed in the first floor study.
She comfortably slept in her favorite room in her house.
Surrounded by her family and her books.
I had the pleasure of sitting with her twice.
Bringing her an exquisite small vase of flowers.
Holding her hand.
Praying the rosary.
Reading to her poetry.
In her end, she taught me what really matter in life:
Being surrounded by beauty.
Family and friends to hold your hand.
Belief in things bigger than yourself.
And stories to read and share.
Thank you, Evelyn.
I’m better for having know you.