Today, my friend Patt would have turned 71. Today, I edit a scene that reminds me a whole lot of her.
Today, I’d like to share with you a little post I wrote a few years ago.
I miss my friend. My mentor. My sister in Christ.
My dear friend Patt was dying.
For years, she’d suffered falls and strokes and heart problems. More than that, even. Too much. Joy-grief filled my confused heart and I begged God to be gentle and kind. Especially for her family’s sake.
I first met her years before. My friend Tim, her youngest son, introduced me to her. He told me that I would love her. And he, of course, was right. She checked up on me, sent me letters and cards. Being new to town and to that church, she took me right under her warm wing. Sometimes I called her my Grand Rapids Mom.
Of all the people who heard news about me, Patt was one of the first. When I got engaged. Pregnant. My ups. My downs. Even in the ICU, she wanted to know about me.
“Susie Finkbeiner,” she said when I visited one day. “Twins? How wonderful!”
Miss Patt called my daughter ‘Pickle’, our nickname for her when I was pregnant. She gave her pickle ornaments. For a three year old, that’s pretty special.
And I’d have to tell my little girl that Miss Patt was dying. My heart swelled with grief.
“Honey, we need to pray for Miss Patt,” I said as I tucked her into bed. “She’s really sick, remember?”
“Yes. And we pray that she gets better,” my daughter said.
I pushed the hair out of her eyes. “How about we say ‘thank you’ to God for the time we’ve had with Miss Patt.”
“Okay,” she said. “Dear God, thank you for Miss Patt. Make her better. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.”
I let my little girl see the tears in my eyes. She needed to see that I was sad.
“Miss Patt is going to get better,” she said. “We prayed.”
I kissed my daughter. Sang a song with her about trusting the Lord. About not leaning on our own understanding. Turned off the light. Sat in the living room and cried.
If Patt had gotten better, if she’d survived yet again, she would just be in pain. More and more pain.
Going to sleep that night, I prayed frustrated words. I didn’t know what to pray, really. And I knew that was all right.
The next morning I got the news that Patt had died. I felt sick. Grieved for my friends who had just lost their mom. Too soon. Tragically. Then I mourned that I would have to tell my daughter that her prayer hadn’t been answered. That Miss Patt hadn’t gotten better.
“Hey, I have to tell you something,” I said, pulling her onto my lap. “Remember how we prayed for Miss Patt last night?”
She nodded her head. Smiled with her whole face.
“Well, honey,” I said. “Miss Patt died.”
My daughter gasped. Put her little hands over her mouth. My heart ached for her. This was the first loss she’d really understand.
“Mama,” she said. “My prayer worked. God did it. He made Miss Patt better!”
Today, I remember that Patt’s better. No more pain. No more ICU. No more being hooked up to beeping, whining machines. And, although she’s been gone for a few years now, I still miss her.
She was a good friend. My friend Patt.