"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon


Thursday, February 16, 2012

God's Elder Children

Before eating together at the senior center, we face the flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance and then say a prayer. In the prayer, we speak of ourselves as God's elder children.

One of the first seniors to befriend me was Henry. He was the principal at the high school for many years. His wife passed away ten years ago. He has had a lady friend who lost her husband around the same time his wife died. They became travel companions, taking trips together and making some amazing booklets of photos and mementos of the trips.

When Henry and his wife married, I was six years old. He and I laughed that I could have been their flower girl. One day Henry and I toasted his wife with our decaf coffee and he told me all about her. It would have been her birthday. It was a beautiful afternoon of stories of love and sorrows.

When I was feeling low, Henry would sense it. He would stoop down and whisper "God bless you" or "You are doing great".

I had lots of things in common with Henry. We both loved coffee, and would drink decaf weaker than most people make it. We loved to compare books and I would search through all his books. We talked about our travels, our children, our success stories and our disappointments. For a man in a small town, Henry did not have a small mind. He accepted people and was interested in them.

Henry passed away in a rehab facility in a nearby city. The week before he died he told me on the phone that he was getting well and was looking forward to our next visit when he got home. He did not realize that he was really going home.

Some friends pass through our lives for a short time. Henry's gentle, intelligent nature calmed me and encouraged me during some dark times. In our last conversation I ended the phone call by telling him how much I cared about him, and he replied "I feel the same way, sweetheart". Good bye, dear friend.

43 comments:

Ms. A said...

God bless Henry and God bless you, too, Cici. Losing people in our life is hard, especially the "good ones".

Rock Chef said...

That is so sad. He sounds like a great guy. It is good that you had that last conversation - one of the worst things is having things that were never said.

Shadowthorne @ Ramzu Zahini said...

I know your supply of good friends will not diminish in Henry's absence, but it is truly sad to see a good man goes. Let the fond memories of him grow evergreen in your mind.

I am sure he would not like to see you unhappy from where he is now.

Jeanie said...

It sounds like you meant every bit as much to Henry as he did to you. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

DJan said...

That's one of the hardest things about becoming attached to other people or our loving animals: saying goodbye and being left behind. But Henry would say, I'm sure: "you're doing great" and mean it. So I say it, too. Thanks for this poignant post, filled with love and sorrow.

Ina in Alaska said...

What a sweet story. He came into your life at the right time to add to your healing. Sounds like a great man. What a tribute. RIP Henry.

CiCi said...

Doubly sad for me because at the time my husband was leaving Henry took me under his wing. He was a great help to me and I think I was to him as well. Thank you for your kind words.

CiCi said...

My first real friend here but for a short time. I am so grateful for the months of knowing him.

CiCi said...

Henry was the only male friend but I am making some wonderful female friends, 3 that I am growing closer to, two are married and one a widow, all around my age. Thank you for the reminder to focus on the fond memories. I have had enough unhappiness this year; I choose to focus on the joys.

CiCi said...

Henry was a good man and he cared about all people. I do know I meant a lot to him and he reached out to me with his teacher's mind. He was a teacher for many years and then high school principal. He listened to what people said and heard with a kind heart.

CiCi said...

Interesting that here on the blog is the only place I am able to talk about Henry right now. I don't join any conversations at the center or with other people who are missing him too. I know you have had experiences of losing loved ones, more than I have. Hugs.

CiCi said...

Who would have thought an older man with a full life in this town would have taken time to befriend the new kid at the senior center. The older seniors think of me as "kid" and it is meant in a sweet way. If there could be a favorite person at the center, it was Henry. Everyone could agree on how much they loved him, he was the one who volunteered to help with things the younger ones could have done. I am so glad to have known him.

Kleinste Motte said...

WOW!
May he rest in peace. Yes he is home now.
And you were lucky to know him. He was inspirational.
Now is his lady friend also your friend?
I just read this after mentioning I wished to hear more about the seniors but I had happier things in mind.
Hugs to you.

LL Cool Joe said...

Aww I'm so sorry. We have to believe that good people come in lives for a reason, but that doesn't make losing them any easier. I'm so sorry you lost a good friend, but how wonderful that his final words to you were so lovely.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

oh no, gone? sheesh :(

oceangirl said...

I'm sorry for your loss CiCi.

Anne H said...

EVERY DAY is a gift - and you got a good one... (as he did - with you)
if only for a while! Hugs!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Henry sounds like a good man-- and those aren't so easy to find. I'm glad you got to know him.
Saying a prayer for you both. I'm sorry for your loss.
xo jj

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am glad that you were able to be his friend and bring happiness into his life. ((HUGS)) So sorry for the loss of your friend.

CiCi said...

Yes, I was lucky to know him, lucky to sit down and talk with him and be someone he could talk to, tell his hurts to. His lady friend's dementia prevented her from know that he was in the same rehab facility that she is in, and she has no understanding that he has passed on.

CiCi said...

When he would smile and tell me I was giving him his daily dose of hugs, it felt so good to know I was making him happy. He was teaching me to think about others in the midst of my personal pain.

CiCi said...

Gone but not forgotten by me and many other people he nurtured.

CiCi said...

Thank you, I have to keep my thoughts on the good part, knowing this man who was so good to people he came in contact with blessed us all.

CiCi said...

When I think about it, there were many days, several months worth of pure gold friendship.

CiCi said...

Henry was one of the magnet people, we were drawn to him and his gentle nature. His words were always "he's a good man" and kind stories about other people and if he shared info about their trials he did so with a generous heart. He was not a gossip, he dealt in reality and facts smoothed over with a spread of consideration of the bread of life.

CiCi said...

It was unexpected to learn of his passing. The whole town was surprised and sad. He was loved by so many people. I too am so glad that I was there for him. His tears when he spoke about his wife and the years of watching her illness take her moved me immensely.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

He sounds like such a lovely man, and I have no doubt that he's been a warm and wonderful addition to heaven. So sorry that you lost a dear friend, but so happy that you have these memories.

Jeni said...

Anytime you've been fortunate enough to have had a friendship such as this one was, that definitely will not be forgotten!

CiCi said...

That is the best way to view it and I worked past the shock of his passing away to the place that I am grateful for time with him. It is teaching me that we can have dear friends for a short time and they can impact our lives tremendously.

CiCi said...

When someone passes through my life and makes such a difference, it is not likely that it will ever be forgotten.

Brian Miller said...

def sorry for your loss...people do pass through our lives leaving little impressions we carry with us...and sharing coffee is a great way to connect...have a lovely weekend!

Suldog said...

It was nice to hear from you, CiCi. Sorry to hear about this loss, though. Very nice tribute on your part. It made me want to know Henry. Perhaps at a later time...

CiCi said...

Thank, Brian. Yes, it was great to sit in his family room with our decaf and snacks and talk and talk.

CiCi said...

Henry was an older man with a young mind and heart. He was always finding good in people. You would have enjoyed many things about Henry, Jim, especially sports.

Stickup Artist said...

Henry sounds like a lovely soul that touched your life at just the right moment. He will never be gone from this earth because the kindness he showed you and many others no doubt, will be extended from those he touched to others who are in need of kindness and understanding. I guess that is just how it is supposed to be...

Unknown Mami said...

Just beautiful. I'm sorry Henry is gone, but what a lovely relationship you two had.

CiCi said...

You have a great way of explaining things, you are a wise soul.

CiCi said...

Gads, I have been missing that sweet and kind man, for myself and for his lady friend and his children and his friends.

Hilary said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend, CiCi. It sounds like he was just a wonderful sweetheart. Beautiful tribute, here.

terri said...

Henry was a gift to you. I'm sorry he couldn't have been in your life for a longer time.

CiCi said...

Without knowing it, I was there for Henry when he needed a friend just as much as he was there for me.

CiCi said...

Thanks, Hilary. Henry was an honorable man and a good friend in the short time I knew him.

CiCi said...

Me too. I would have liked to had more time with Henry. But I know I am blessed to have known him at all.