About seven or eight years ago I started helping out at our local elementary nondenominational youth group at one of the churches in our little hamlet. Both kids were involved and I felt that I should give a hand. One of the other ladies helping was a little gal named Margaret.
When I first starting helping with Footprints I thought Miss Margaret was a grouchy old lady and I steered clean of her as much as possible…then I got to know her and the kids and I absolutely fell in love with her. There is just something about her and I’ll be damned if we have been able to figure out what it is, but she is such a bright light.
We call her Miss even though she is married, just seemed to fit her and she never seemed to mind, so to us, she is our Miss Margaret.
Miss Margaret and her family don’t have much, but they are good people. A number of years ago my mother called just before Christmas and said she had a box of food stuff for Margaret, she’d gone shopping and had bought too much. She’s done it every year since. She knows what Margaret means to me and the kids and she enjoys treating her. We butcher, so we always send beef as well. We always save the ribs for her, we aren’t big fans but she and her family love them so much that we always save them to give as holiday treats throughout the year.
Since we’ve met, Margaret has been nailed with pneumonia almost every winter and she’s gotten more and more weak over the years, never able to gain back the weight she’s lost over her illness, she’s down to about 70-75 pounds and she’s easily 5’8. Even when she’s sick she’s on the go, her house is always spotless. Always doing for everyone else.
She is special to all of us, but all the more so to Leo. When it comes to her, he has such a soft spot. When we take things over to her place he insists on being the one to carry everything to the house and give them to her personally. He’ll go so far as to tell us to stay in the car and he’ll take care of getting everything in the house. He does this with no one else. He started this years ago, he just turned 13 and still does it. She is the only one besides me that he will freely give hugs to. It really is the sweetest thing.
Pastor called me at the end of last week and told me that she’d taken Miss Margaret to the hospital, she was down with pneumonia and the cancer that had been undetectable this summer was back and everywhere, that she knew we’d want to know and would tell us when she was back home so we could go see her.
I went in this afternoon, pale as always but hiding her illness very well, she never brought it up. That’s the kind of lady she is. She’s always more concerned about others. The bus dropped Leo off at her place and she asked him to run some things to the church that she’d forgotten about for youth group, off he went. She’s the only person whom I’ve ever known for him to just drop whatever he’s doing and just do what she asks, no huffing and puffing, no saying he’ll do it in a bit, he just does it.
Pastor told me the gravity of the situation. I’ve called and told our daughter, hopefully she’ll be able to get home from college to see our Miss Margaret before too long. When I sat and talked to Leo about it the other day he said, she’ll kick it, she’s tough.
Oh, what do you say? My children have always handled death way better than I do. I’m a blubbering fool when anyone passes. I’ve gotten better over the years, have been able to start seeing death the way my children do, don’t know where they got so stinking smart. They both have always been able to see it as, you know, they are with their mom again, they are with their baby again, they are happy.
UGH! But you know, it does help, when my 46 year old cousin passed a couple weeks ago, although he left his two sweet littles and wife behind, I was able to say…he’s with his mom again, he was about 20 when she passed…that has helped a lot.
I’m just not sure this time around. Kaet has said that she’s never cried when anyone has passed and I don’t recall Leo crying except for after I’ve started in and I think it’s just because his mom is crying. He found out about our cousin Chad passing via another cousin, Linc apologized for it and I said no, it was okay. When I talked to Leo about it later he said that he was glad to have heard it from someone other than me because he just can’t stand to see me cry. My boy.
We still pray and hope for a miracle but it’s starting to look like a long shot. We love her to pieces but hate to see her feeling so ill. We know that God has his plan and we may not always like the plan but we have to learn to live with what he brings into our lives.
Much love to our Miss Margaret…we’ll keep praying for a miracle!