November and December flew by for me. I spent a large portion of those two months helping a dear friend. Annie (a pseudonym) is an elderly widow with no children. She has spent all her life helping others. She has done it quietly. She has always been the definition of a true lady—gracious, kind, and classy.
Annie cultivated friends in all spheres. Wherever she went she touched the lives of others. Of all those people, I may be her closest friend. That’s why when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in November, I was the one to help her make the arrangements to move off the farm she had lived on for the past 60 years.
I called her neighbors and other friends to let them know her diagnosis. I listened compassionately as all of them grieved on the phone. Often, I needed to ask for help with certain details regarding her upcoming move. Each time I asked for help, the answer was always the same. “Since it’s Annie, of course I will/we will do that.”
Of all the things I had to do, perhaps the hardest was finding places for her beloved farm pets. A neighbor graciously took in her cat. We boarded her dog, Meg, because nobody wanted her, and we could not take her with us on our four-hour drive home. Meg was a terrible traveler among her many other faults.
One couple wanted to help Annie so much that they volunteered to take the obstinate pet. Unfortunately, the dear man suffered a heart attack before we could even deliver the animal.
I delayed calling the veterinarian where we had boarded the dog until I had exhausted all my resources. Since Meg often got into trouble, Annie had the woman’s private number on speed dial.
“Annie went home with us for Thanksgiving,” I said. “I know we’ve left Meg there for two weeks. That’s a long time. How is she doing?” I asked.
“Oh, Meg’s fine. That was her you probably heard barking. Right now, she’s on the sofa in our break room. She occasionally gets a cookie when we walk past,” the veterinarian said.
“Thank you so much for doing that. I was worried about her stuck in the cage this whole time.” I took a deep breath and matter-of-factly rattled off the details of Annie’s situation. “Annie has brain cancer. We’ll be moving her into assisted living soon. We need to find someone to take Meg. We thought we had someone, but yesterday he was taken to the hospital.”
I prattled on, “His wife says he’s okay, but they won’t be able to take Meg now. So, we need to find someone else who can take her. Do you know of anyone who might be interested?”
Silence. Had the phone gone dead? “Hello?” I said into the receiver.
A choking sound. Followed by a muffled cry. “I’m sorry,” she said.
Then I realized, she was another person touched by Annie’s gentle kindness. Of course. Why had I not realized it before I unceremoniously dumped Annie’s diagnosis on this woman?
“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I should have realized….”
She cleared her throat “That’s alright. You probably have so much to do. I know of someone who asked me for an older dog. I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”
Annie was such a dear person. Even the veterinarian grieved the diagnosis.
A life like Annie’s should make us all think. Have we lived the kind of life that will cause others to grieve our loss?
Whose life have you touched for good?
Until next time,
© 2022 SuZan Klassen. All Rights Reserved.