Me & My Girl Shirl

I went to see a friend yesterday. She had been heavy on my mind. I know from past experiences to go with my instinct. My friend has been in hospice care for about a month now and I was getting a bad feeling about her.

My heart was heavy with grief when I walked in her room and saw her gaunt face. I made sure to smile and walk over to her and greet her as if she wasn’t sick. She had her eyes closed but opened them to see who was coming in the room but closed them after she saw because she didn’t have the strength to respond. There were no other words to put in the air so I pulled up a chair and sat close to her bed and touched the minute portion of skin barely covering her arm.

The last time I saw her she was not as frail.

I don’t like that look; that skeletal look. Her eyes were sunken in and her jawbone was showing through clearly. She now only had a wisp of hair and she kept her mouth open. Her body was medium temperature and her nails where so long they looked false. I know she would have loved to have them painted a fly girl color. That’s the way she was but now . . .

Suddenly she opened her eyes and spoke distinctly asking to have someone tell the nurse to give her more pain medicine. It was clear that the only thing on her mind was to be relieved of physical pain. It was nice that she had visitors but nothing was more important than reducing the pain.

 At times she would cry out in agony but her eyes remained closed. Her sister-in-law explained that she was feeling the discomfort because of gas.

It’s been a week since I last went to the hospice. Friday night I got a text from her niece telling me that things have turned for the worse. But for some reason I didn’t feel like she was gonna go and she remained with us.

I heard she was asking for different one’s phones numbers because she wanted call them and she wanted visitors around the clock. I heard she was talking and rubbing her daughter’s hair as she often did. Things seem hopeful, promising. I could even imagine her raising up to eat and desired that she would become so well that she would get dressed and leave the hospice and be a testimony of what God can do.

But I got a call today. I wasn’t expecting it. She’s gone. She left around midnight last night. I prayed this morning and asked God to raise her up from her death bed. The story of the dry bones came to mind and I read it and marveled inside about what God can do. He spoke to the prophet Ezekiel and told him to prophesy to the dry bones and he did and there was a sound of thunder and a shaking and suddenly bone by bone came together and sinew and flesh came on the bones but God had already answered my prayer before I knew it. She had already gone.

We are the same age. I thought we would grow old together and watch our children grow up. We did partially. She has a few more at home. She loved having people around all the time. I know she will miss them all especially her grandson who has a smile that lights up a room like she did.

My girl, Shirl is gone.

August 9, 2018


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