Walking Her Home

As I write this, my best friend/sister is sleeping peacefully. She is on hospice care and it is almost time for her morphine. Not much else is on my mind. I’d like to share part of what my minister-supervisor wrote to me during this time.

Is it not great to have a friend like LaVonne? An acquaintance who opened her heart and home to you as you were going through a transition. Now, you are having the opportunity to help LaVonne move towards death so that she does not have to do it alone, in a sterilized room with florescent lighting, observed by people who are monitoring medications, machines and charts.  What a privilege to be a recipient of someone’s kindness and love and then have the opportunity to give that back. A friendship and sisterhood that many people envy!

Go ahead, if you need to stand on the front porch and give a good yell of anger, fatigue, sadness. If tears blur your vision, let them flow because LaVonne means a lot to you (and you to her). If you feel panic, name it. Fear, let it take hold. Good grief, we crazily run from our emotions it is no wonder people feel tired and stressed pretending to be something or feel something that we are not.  

Twenty-plus years ago, LaVonne and I met through Vanderbilt. I barely knew her when she generously said to me, “Come on and stay with me till you get your bearings.”

I did.

And, I stayed and stayed and stayed.

Now I am walking her to a door I can’t pass through just yet…

Thank you, friend. See you later!

LaVonne died on June 8.  A little over a week later I found myself at the monastery. Yes, I walked LaVonne to a door I could not pass through. I said “good bye” but I was not the strong woman I expected to be. In fact, I was devastated. I needed to get my bearings. Gently and tenderly, the monastic who has guided me through a deeper understanding of the Rule was there with open arms. She didn’t say the exact same words LaVonne said to me many years before, but the sentiment was the same: “Come on and stay with me/us till you get your bearings.”  She opened doors and gently helped me close some so I could focus on the reason I was there. Thank you to all the monastics who loved me into knowing that I am not alone.

Pat Pickett, OblSB