Wednesday, February 1, 2012


She celebrated her 100 years of life last spring. A woman who had 'spring' in her step and laughter in her eyes.

Her husband Elgar had gone to school with my Dad. He often talked about his friendship with the man. Elgar and Leah lost a son and a grandson. Still somehow the smiles continued as well as the love for those who had been given to them. I can't remember a time before having Elgar and Leah in my life. They had been part of the 'gang' that got together a couple of times a year. When Elgar passed, Leah took up the reins, especially where the Loxley girls were concerned.

"Leah wants to know when you girls are home," Mom often said. I could usually count on a visit from Freeda and Leah when I came back to the farm. We sat on the porch talking for hours, laughing at old stories and 'catching up'. Leah was one of those people who was interested in you instead of rambling on about her own life. Friends who cared about one another.

When Mom died, Leah told me that she wanted to see all of us the next time we were home. She may have started out being my parents' friend, but truly I counted her as mine. I can still hear her was contagious.

When we lost our friend, Freeda, Leah held my hand, tears in her eyes meeting the tears in my eyes. My mother and father weren't there to share the pain of old friends losing old friends, but I was their daughter and knew the love these friends all shared.

In planning my trip last July, I knew I would see Leah. I knew her health was failing so I made her promise to stick around until I got there.  I wanted to see her and hug her one more time. With her same humor, she joked with her roommate about their advancing years. Who would know that within the year both would be gone.

Sometimes it is difficult to see our loved ones in the nursing homes, not the spry person we remember from earlier years. For me it is a gift. I'm a hands on person. There is no greater gift than that of a hug, a kiss, a hand in my own of a loved one who has been my friend for as long as I can remember. I am grateful for the opportunity to tell them that I love them and that they have impacted my life. I would not be me without 'Pam's people'.

Leah and Elgar are now sitting with Mom and Dad looking down on me writing this piece. Mom is probably saying, "Well, who could have guessed she could write. AND, for the Advocate!" Dad would be talking to Elgar ignoring me. Leah would say "Now I can see the Loxley girls whenever I want. It was nice to see Pam one more time."

Leah, I miss you. I will come back to the Brethren Home this summer missing the visit to your room, but I will be warmed by the lifetime of love you gave to me. Hugs and kisses, dear one.

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