A friend from home entered eternity yesterday. Her name is Annita Hays. She was a native of Mississippi, but after graduating from USM, she made her home in Ft. Walton Beach, FL where she and her husband both taught school. They moved there right about when we did. She & Mom taught together, and our families became very close friends. Mrs. Hays has one daughter my brother's age, and one my age. All four of us grew up together. I never had a sister, but Sandra & Janet are pretty close.
I remember many a Friday or Saturday night spent together @ either their house or ours. A meal, usually followed by a card game called "Canasta." My simple mind never fully grasped the mysterious intricacies of the game, but then we kids were typically consigned to, well, somewhere else where we played easier-to-grasp games like Sorry & Monopoly & the like.
There was this one time when I found myself spending the night @ the Hays' house. Mrs. Hays promised me she'd make all the bacon I could eat the next morning. She didn't quite know what she had gotten herself into... A pound of bacon later, I was about full. Note: that's a pound for me. The others had different stuff, as I recall. (Theological aside: bacon is going to be the breakfast meat of choice in Heaven, in case you're wondering...) To my knowledge, nobody has cooked that much bacon just for me since. Which is probably for the best...*smile*
We traveled some with the Hays family too. Mexico, as I recall, plus multiple nearby camping trips to Rocky Bayou St. Park or Ft. Pickens or Sopchoppy (one of the all-time great names there). We'd all pull our small trailers to the campground & just hang out for a weekend.
Mrs. Hays' life was marked by some very serious challenges which will not be named here, because they are no longer an issue with her except as hard-won trophies of faith. There was loss and pain that I can only imagine. And yet, I remember her laughing & smiling most of the time. I also remember her encouraging me very much. Her daughters inherited the encouragement trait and still do so for me, including in this space now & then.
These last years have been very difficult for Sandra & Janet. Alzheimer's is so cruel & heartless. And yet, they have kept their sunny outlooks on life. Perhaps attitude is more genetic than we might think...
Mrs. Hays' fight--and her daughters' ordeals--ended yesterday.
Tomorrow morning is her funeral. I'll be discussing bank regulation plus my final exam in class, both of which seem so very trivial in comparison. I would love to be there to hug on my friends/sisters Sandra & Janet, and to honor a treasured memory of their beloved Mother. I'd also like to hug my Mom who has lost a friend of nearly 50 years. Instead, this meager writing--which also is trivial in comparison--plus a lot of prayer will have to do.
I'd like you all to pray for Sandra & Janet & the rest of Mrs. Hays' loved ones, especially tomorrow. Sandra has a daughter in college named Leslie; please remember her too. The morning of that last, long goodbye does not dawn easily, even when the passing is an act of God's mercy.
I'd like you also to voice a prayer on behalf of all who are researching Alzheimer's in hope of finding a cure. I'm optimistic that such is coming one day. I just wish it had been around a few years back when Mrs. Hays' illness became known...I know a lot of people--in particular, 2 wonderful ladies who loved their Mother dearly--who would've been spared a lot of heartache. Instead, there's a funeral tomorrow.
But do not think for a minute that Alzheimer's is the victor here!!
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive...What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain...So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power...
(1 Corinthians 15:22, 36, 37, 42, 43)
Alzheimer's the victor?? Not a chance. Yesterday, my friend Mrs. Hays became the victor; Alzheimer's became but a glitch in her eternal journey. Her faith, though shielded by disease that ransacked her mind these past few years, was well-placed. She is now raised imperishable as Paul put it, with a gloriously-restored mind that is beyond what she had here even as a school teacher.
So long, Mrs. Hays. I'll see you on the other side. Let's plan on having some bacon together...I'll cook it this time. *smile*
With much love and fond memories, and prayers for my friends whose Mother has passed from our midst,