Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Village People

"There is more happiness in giving
than there is in receiving."
Acts 20:35

What happens when in life, a person gives and gives and gives and gives and gives?

When that person most needs it, they receive and receive and receive and receive.

This past weekend we heard some sad news about a dear friend, our precious Peggy in Davis. I have known her as long as I have known my husband and he knew her before we met. How can I describe this amazing person? She is full of life and spunk and humor and spark and has a twinkle in her eye that makes every minute with her memorable. She is more interested in experiences than things, she puts people ahead of possessions. Because of this, she has built up a group of friends, young and old, that cherish her. We were saddened to hear she had a massive stroke, that her brain was basically gone and according to her wishes, she would not be provided any measures to prolong her life, including water. Ernst went to see her, said his goodbyes through tears and sobs. I was going to say my goodbyes yesterday, if she was still with us.

Peggy had other plans. She woke up yesterday in the hospital and greeted the nurse who came in to care for the patient on "Comfort Care." She is awake, and while weak, is the same hilarious Peggy she has always been. I told her Ernst and his buddy Dan drank a shot of vodka in her honor the night before, she complained that she didn't get any! She told Dan he should shave off his mustache so the nurses would think he was even cuter. She is 89, in the hospital after a massive brain bleed and she is amazing us all.

We don't have kids, our family all lives in distant places. I see the work that my sister Joanne puts into taking wonderful care of our mother. My brother Jeff and his wife Chris left Bethel last year to help out. We tease that "it takes a village" just to do my Mom's hair. She has five kids and two of them are there doing what it takes to help a person age with dignity. But if/when I need it, who will be my village? These questions start to come up and they are disconcerting. No kids, no village?

When I saw Peggy in the hospital yesterday, my worries were calmed. Peggy has no family left, save for one grandson in another state. But she has a village, and it is huge. The nurse who showed me her room commented on how many friends she has. She has no idea! She's just seeing the ones from Davis. Peggy's friends span from Mexico to China to Vietnam to Warwick. She is reaping the rewards of giving what people need most in life - love and acknowledgment and approval. We don't know what the outcome will be for our dear Peggy, but her village is ready. And my worries have been calmed. Life gives us what we put into it. As we navigate through our health issues and medical scares, I know the very best choice is always to keep giving. Live like Peggy. Give like Peggy. That is a pretty decent way to live my life.