My next memory (this is before cell phones and selfies) is of Candy and me pushing Peter and David side by side in their strollers. Both Peter and David are now 42. Our friendship is long and deep. Sharing those early years of pregnancy and motherhood cemented a bond that did not break.
Two weeks ago Candy accepted the loving and waiting invitation of Jesus, well done my daughter; come be with me. Her 11 year journey with Aphasia, a form of dementia that robbed her of her words was over. Once again she is speaking the praises of her Savior.
Accepting – As I think of Candy, this is the word that stands out.
One February in the early stages of her disease we were sitting in our living room with our husbands. I remember Candy explaining Aphasia to us. She shared how Rich (her husband) often had to fill in the blanks in her conversations when she could not come up with the appropriate word.
Psalm 112 was a favorite of Candy’s. In her Bible it was marked to memorize and meditate upon.
“Blessed is the (wo)man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
Or, blessed is the woman who lives appropriately in the presence of God. That was Candy. She was not angry; she did not question; she trusted God and accepted, living appropriately.
The last time we actually spoke to each other was about four years ago. Her disease had progressed significantly and I remember my fear during that visit. But it was unfounded. We chatted as friends do as we walked around one of the many lakes in the Minneapolis area. Her kindness and acceptance had not waned even as her body and her mind were submitting to Aphasia. I was fearful of her disease; she was not.
Two years ago we were visiting Rich and Candy in their home. It was our last visit this side of heaven. I didn’t know when we walked into their living room that she had lost all her words and needed significant help with life skills.
Candy was laying on the sofa with her feet on the carpet. I knelt on the floor with my face close to hers so we could make eye contact. Her spirit was calm~still accepting, her eyes smiled; I think she knew me. I helped her to a sitting position. We sat on the sofa and I talked, probably about grand-children. I don’t know what or if Candy understood. It was good to be together. We were friends.
“(S)he is not afraid of bad news;
his (her) heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.”
Trusting in the Lord … or accepting God’s will.
The way Candy traveled through her life with Aphasia ministers deeply to me. More than once I remember her quipping, I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Perhaps she couldn’t put the answer to her own question in words, but her life communicated. She was living God’s design, a child of the King accepting of and content with the script God had written for her.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;”
“Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world.”
Accepting – a wonderful quality.