A very special lady made her passage in the wee hours this morning. She took her last breath peacefully though physically alone, she was surrounded by angels and heavenly loved ones. She lived life to its fullest; her life was complete.
I did not know this fine lady very well though I met her for the first time about 20 years ago. She was gracious and kind to me, welcoming me into her life with a smile and pleasant word though the circumstances were difficult for both of us.
I saw her at family functions; had brief but loving conversations; and a smile never left her face nor mine. She was genuinely interested in learning about me.
If you could choose to come back for a period of time, what length would you choose? One year, ten years, a hundred years?
I knew her best through her daughter and grandchildren...she was a wonderful role model to them and they are each examples of her love and spirit.
Over the years her independence declined from independent living, to assisted, and then to a nursing home. When family came to visit she would say, "Please pray for me that I might die in my sleep." With each morning she questioned why she was still here on earth. The answer often was, "Because God still needs you here."
The more complete our life is, there is less anger or fear of death.
I believe she had these last weeks and months to teach us:
- That there not be fear in dying.
- That we each have a role to make the passage of the dying smooth and easy.
- That love and forgiveness are the major lessons in life for each of us to learn.
- And that dying is the natural part of living.
At 3:00 in the morning, my husband awoke with strong thoughts and memories of this gracious lady who had touched his life so deeply. This was just one hour after she died. He said, "Ardelle passed by."
A young man dying of leukemia said, "I don't think people are afraid of death. What they are afraid of is the incompleteness of life."
This is a celebration and tribute to Ardelle and other people I knew who have passed on and passed by. Each of them have left their footprint on me. I have learned from them and hopefully when I pass on those left behind will feel my footprint.
So a little bit like in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" the bells are ringing...Ardelle earned her angel wings on earth.
If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do this, I will live forever.
My thanks to Ann Landers, Lisl Marburg Goodman, Linda Deutsch, Bill Newcott, and the family of Ardelle Bryntesen.