Thursday, January 8, 2009

Saying good-bye


As I stepped into the hospital room I saw my friend ,without her wig on for the first time.

I knew how sick she was but it faded in my memory from day to day because her fight to endure each day was done with such grace.

She celebrated the wig buying rather than mourned- at least to me she did. She even sent me a glamor shot to show me how good it looked.

But today, with no hair and yellowed skin I was conscious of just how ill she was.

She was a bit breathless as we talked but a smile crept across her face as she asked about each of the girls- the girls from bible study and my girls.

She was still focused on everyone else.

Finally I asked how things were going and she started explaining to me that she would not agree to any other treatment.

She said, “ Autumn, I've done my best with this. I've fought it and I've kept my head up but I'm tired. I'm not doing so good. I'm ready to go.”

There was no bitterness in her tone-just a quiet settled assurance to me that she was finished here.

As tears crept out of my eyes I told her we were not supposed to be doing this right now. How can we be saying goodbye so quickly?

We hugged and talked about how much fun we had in this short 7 or so years.

“You girls are so special to me! You taught me something about love and taking care of each other that I have never known before. I don't know what I would have done without you all.”

Those words will stay with me for a long time.

It was an unlikely friendship to be formed.

When Caroline first came to our Friday morning meetings , I didn't expect her to stay. Likely she didn't expect to come back,but she did. Like all friendships we had challenges but Caroline was one of us- unlikely or not- she had a place in our group and it was a special place.

Over the past 4 or so years she has been compiling a directory for us. On any given month several children would get a birthday card from Ms Caroline. She was so careful to remember each one of us with a card. When we hosted our first VBS, Ron and Caroline were enthusiastic and supportive.

She spoke often of her grandchildren and sought to find resources to help lead them to the Lord.

Though she physically bore no children of her own, she was surrounded by dozens who were her own,just the same.

Friday mornings will be difficult; her presence will be missed.

She sought to glorify God in everything and through these teary eyes it appears that she did.

She will be missed.


bekah said...

Sweet mrs. Caroline will be missed esspecially as we start up again with our bible study on Friday. I'm planning on getting our annual Directory together this year, in her memory. She always added a lot of scripture knowledge to all our discussions and she was ALWAYS on top of her homework : )

Shannon said...

Mrs. Caroline will definitely leave a hole in our group. I so enjoyed the little houses she did and how she had us all over and told us the stories.

Kimberly said...

I, too, will miss Ms. Caroline. Although I was not part of the group for very long, she was always so welcoming and sweet. I loved that she was from the North and would always ask after my "Yankee" husband.

I am so thankful that her life was filled with friends like you guys.

Ron Phelps said...

I would like to thank the Bible study group. Caroline loved all of you, and I can see why with the support that has been offered to me.

Jodie Weaver "Phelps" said...

Dad (Ron) sent me this sight, thank you for this.

Caroline was my second mother, or "step mother" to some. But to me she has been a huge part of mine and my childrens lives for the last 30 years.
I know she loved her grandchildren, and me more then anything, and we will miss her so. I was unable to be with her during her struggle with this, and I really regret that most of all. I understand but it still hurts (alot). I am so glad she had you all. She talked about you a lot to me. I also appreciate everything you have done, and how she could depend on you for everything. Thank the lord for you all.

Liz Brown said...

There are very few people I know who walked in the integrity Caroline had. She always looked for opportunity to serve or give. She was an inspiration to all of us and seems to be even more now that she is not with us. May we all pick up the baton and walk in the stedfastness of Christ that she left for us in example.

Kathy Harper said...

I have only known Caroline for a few short years. But in those few short years I have been so blessed by knowing her. She is one of the most caring and giving individuals I have ever known. And I purposely said "she is" and not ''she was" because she is still very much alive in Heaven with our Father and she will live in my heart forever! Even while she was dying, her concern was not for herself but for her beloved husband,Ron and her grandchidlren. I will miss you, my Friend!

Janice McNesby said...

I've known Caroline for many years, way back to the "Jersey" days. For all the years I've known her, she has been steadfast, loyal and loving. She has always been an example for all who want to live for the Lord. She will be missed by many, even those of us who haven't had frequent contact with her for many, many years. When this whole thing started, she requested little, but one thing she did ask was that people pray for her to wage this battle to glorify the Lord. In that way, I believe our prayers were answered. May the Lord grant her family peace and the joy of knowing they will see her rejoicing with Him on the other side.

Sally Miller said...

Caroline and I have been friends for over 50 years. She was a good friend and confidant. I was able to spend a month with her, as she started chemo treatments. I was glad that I could be with her, when she had her head shaved, and when she picked out her wig. We laughed while I took her picture. We had many talks, quiet times, and silent times together. We deepend our friendship while I was with her. I'm so thankful for the time of fellowship we had together, when she was strong enough to enjoy it We shared Bible reading together. Psalm 119:75 I know Oh Lord, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Caroline had said that her discomfort/pain was nothing, compared to what Jesus suffered for her, and because of that, she could bear anything for Him. He was faithful to her during her illness as He promised. I will miss her deeply.

julie ketcham said...

Thank you Ron for sending me this link. I am Caroline's cousin in law from Arkansas. Caroline and Ron and Mandy came to stay with us for the first time when Katrina hit. I had never met them before and my husand Clyde had not seen her in over 30+ years.We all hit it off great. We enjoyed spending time with them and even got to spend a Thanksgiving with them a couple of years ago.On two different occasions I was visiting my sister in Calif.(Katrina and last summer) and they came to our house to escape a hurricane.This last summer I was in Calif. because my sister was in a horrible car wreck and I was taking care of her,and Caroline, Ron and Sally came. I was hoping to get back to Arkansas in time to see her since I knew she had been diagnosed with cancer, but I was a few days late and missed her. I am so sad about that.I loved her sweet spirit so very much and will miss her every day. One thing you knew for sure was that she loved the Lord.I miss you Caroline. julie

Henri Rembert said...

Van & I have known Ron & Caroline for over 25 years & have shared many times of fellowship together. For Caroline & is like the movie title.."North & South" it was a blending of a Yankee Jersey Girl bonding with a Cajun gal. Caroline was very dependable & always so willing to help &/or share some spiritual encouragement. She was upfront on how she felt about matters & I deeply appreciated her honesty.

auntbum said...

So good of all of you to leave kind words about our mutual friend. I feel certain that you also shared them with her while she was here because she spoke of each of you so kindly.

Lacey Carroll said...

Ms. Caroline joined the ladies bible study group after I had already been welcomed in by them for a while. I am not sure how long we were both part of the study group before Justin and i moved to Texas, but she will always be part of that group of ladies when I think of them. She "is" such a testimony to true faith. Her story of how she dealt with her illness is truly a blessing to all of us who will miss her. Thank you Ron, and family for sharing her with us. We will NOT forget her or her faith!