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A Great Loss

Today, at about 06:00 Central Daylight, my good friend, Sylvia, died.

She was a very sweet, elderly lady who never did really grow old.

She had the loveliest natural silver hair and pale skin, which made her look really good in pastels. She wore pink a lot, long before it was the current fad .She wore lots of modern fashions, including Crocs shoes on her tiny feet, in pink or powder blue.

She lived quite a life. Being only about 5 feet tall and sweetly quiet in personality, she married a lumbering guy who had many long, loud opinions, and whom we all, also loved. I am sure he is devastated, right now, although we all knew Sylvia’s time was at a close.

A teacher by profession, Sylvia never backed down from imparting proper English upon anyone who needed it (with an appropriate Southern drawl, of course.) Long after her retirement, she was still at it, peppering conversations at church with corrections of our grammar. Somehow it never felt like correction; more like a blessing. I guess that was a sign of her closeness to Jesus.

However, she also taught Spanish, and would greet anyone in that language, once she learned they had even a smattering of a grasp on it. “Hola, Catarina,” she would greet me. “Como estas, hoy, mi amiga?”

And we would have to answer in Spanish.

Since I majored in languages, we could converse a long time before one of us got stumped.

Sylvia was a people lover. She always believed everyone was innocent. Of course, while she could rationalize with Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice that we can’t ALL be good, she ignored that rational thought as much as possible. It was so easy for her to love anyone, and for anyone to love her. Even those who felt silly mispronouncing Spanish in the aisles of the church just loved her. My daughter, who knew ASL and some French, would answer her in one of those, and Sylvia was delighted to learn “just a bit more — you never know when you might need it.”

And because she was a lover of all people and thought all people innocent, she loved me when others thought me guilty. She had no evidence. In fact, the evidence made me look mighty guilty, but she refused to believe all that, and just loved me. I want to be like her, some day.

Her funeral will be huge.

I toy with not going. I don’t want to see her dead. It’s too late to hug her one more time. Her husband’s tears will cause mine to drown me. I don’t like some of the people she loved and who loved her in return.  There won’t be enough room in the church for us all, anyway.

Besides, I just want her back. Selfish, I know.

Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

27 thoughts on “Sylvia

  1. I’m sorry about your friend. Your writing made her come alive for me though. Good description. Whatever you decide about the funeral, it’s nice of you to remember her this way.

    1. Thanks for this kind comment, Monica, and Welcome to Home’s Cool.
      I just posted a wonderful reblog, yesterday, about not going to funerals — who would have guessed? — and so I think I should.
      I’m just not good at it. Hubs would go with, though, so he could keep me in line. 😉

  2. So very sorry that your Sylvia has passed on. I know you will miss her deeply in ways you have only begun to fathom. It may be good to go to the funeral and go through the rituals of hearing the memories people have. Your presence will bring God’s graces to someone who needs them very deeply right now. Your prayers and support do and will mean ever so much. I think if you go, you will be glad that you did. Your heart will see her alive and vibrant, crocs and all. May God comfort you today.

        1. Oh, you know, the busy-ness of notifying her friends, who are her age, has consumed the grief. I feel young when compared to these ancient ladies who loved each other. I think I probably felt my connection to her the most when her great-granddaughters broke down — sweet little ones (age 11 and 12) had not seen death before and their tears at the visitation were rather precious to me and spoke eloquently of all we miss.
          The funeral was packed, probably broke fire code, but no one was counting. Neighboring bank allowed parking in half of their lot. People from everywhere knew her and loved and missed her. When casual acquaintances in town have asked me the required, “How are you,” and I’ve said, “Um, missing Sylva,” I did not have to explain, “Sylvia Who?” because everybody knew, knew who I meant and knew what I meant.
          Little things like that have comforted me. And still comfort me.
          And friends like you do, too. Thanks. 🙂

  3. She sounds like a lovely woman, and I’m sorry her time on Earth has ended. From your description, she sounds like the kind of person of which the world needs more. We will keep both of you in our prayers tonight.

  4. I’ve been thinking lately about John 12:24- Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

    It makes me think how unimaginably better our new bodies will be when Christ returns… when we’re actually enjoying and living in the home he’s prepared for us.

    Sylvia sounds like a beautiful person! She was obviously a dear, dear friend. I’d encourage you to go to the funeral… and when you see her, think of how amazing your reunion in heaven will be. If just the seed is so beautiful – wow! – I’d love to meet her, too, someday!

    And if you decide not to go, I know you’ll find a fitting way to honor her. Maybe buy a new pair of crocs.

    I’m very sorry for your loss, and will lift you up in prayer.

    1. Thanks, Heidi,
      Yes, a beautiful person who really did need a new body . . .
      I loved this “Crocs” idea. If I can find them, I might wear a pair of pink ones to her funeral?
      Or maybe.
      Thanks for the first smile in a couple of days. 🙂

  5. I’m sorry to hear of your loss of your dear friend! As I read about her, I felt like she was dancing in front of me in those pink crocs! When you get yourself a pair, you’ll know she’s walking along with you every step of the way … and eventually someone else will be wearing those pink crocs! Regardless of what you choose to do: attend or not attend, remember you were there when it counted the most, in her life! I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thanks so much, Edie.
      I went with my husband to the “visitation” tonight and must fulfill an obligation to help some friends tomorrow, which will conflict with the funeral, so I feel that was my best solution. I did well until two of her great-granddaughter began sobbing. Then I thought, “Me too.” But I was well attended and managed okay.
      Sylvia did seem so out of place in a casket, though.

  6. If, someday, I can have things like this said about me, I will be happy. ((hugs)) to you and all who knew Sylvia.

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