I met this woman when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I was living with my grand aunt and uncle. I was not really a happy child. However, my uncle got married to her and I grew close to her because while my other aunts and uncles who would visit would give me money for my piggy bank and buy ice cream, she was the only one who would hug me, play with me and chat with me. I mean more than the perfunctory greeting.
This does not mean that my other aunts and uncles did not love me, but truth be told, I developed relationships with them individually in my later years. My relationship with Aunt Pauline grew to form one of the exceptionally close bonds of my life. If there was ever a person besides my mother, who I was sure would never turn me away, it would be her. I always knew that if I turned up in Negril, I would never hear “It’s not a convenient time” – NEVER. While I seem to have outgrown the belly rubs at 50 years old, back then she knew that when I said ;Auntie can you rub my belly?” she knew something was bothering me. (Come to think of it, I never understood why a belly rub seemed to remove the problem, but it has the same effect as a head rub from my sister) We often talked on the telephone for hours and believe me I do mean hours. It became a game to us to compare our monthly telephone bills to see who racked up the most minutes on one call. She still holds the record of 833 minutes (no you did not read incorrectly), while mine was as she would say – a “measly 623 minutes”. Fast forward several years, when she migrated to the States. I remember being at the airport, bawling like a baby. I was in my late twenties and for weeks I was inconsolable. My ex-husband should remember that well. Obviously, we could not have those long conversations anymore, but we connected anyway.
When she came home, sadly, the first time I saw her was when she was admitted in the hospital with a broken pelvis. We reconnected through much prayer together as she would call me and ask me to pray her through whatever she was struggling with at the time. I guess it was my turn to give the belly rubs. I visited with her over the last two weeks and it has been a blessing to my soul. At 75 years old with a piece of metal in her leg, which has been shortened by the injury, she still remains the indomitable person I know her to be. The person who considers her to be an invalid, feeble in body and mind would be making a terrible error.
Yet my desire to be of service to her despite her independence just overrides any other emotion. I visited her church with her and despite having a seat nearby, I found myself positioning so that I could be nearby to lend her my arm in order to help her out of the car, walk her into church, walk her out of church, help her to the offering basket. We have held hands while we experienced the Glory of God manifest in the church – His tangible Presence.
O I know that she can get around without me, as well as that there are others who will look out for her, but a sense of protection for this woman who has always sought to protect my emotions during a very turbulent childhood and young adulthood has risen up in me. I find myself looking out for stones so that she is not tripped up when using her walker, taking great care to put back things in her house exactly where she left them so that she does not have any undue stress searching around the house. I am leaving tomorrow for my home and I am missing her already. Thankfully, God has set up some divine encounters that will enable me to see her more often.
No, this is not her eulogy, she still has a few good years left. God is not finished with her. I just do not have any intention of waiting until she dies to let her and the world know how much I love and adore her. I am honored to be of service to her.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25
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Sylvia M Dallas
Poet, Author, Photographer and Teacher of the Word and CEO and Director of Creator Services at The Publisher's Notebook Limited based in Jamaica. She is married to Rohan Dallas, is a proud grandmother, loves coffee (Jamaican, of course), loves great tasting and healthy food, love to cook and is an unabashed follower of Jesus Christ. Her books AND THE PRISONERS HEARD THEM, THE RIGHT KIND OF INTIMACY and THE BED DEFILED are available on Amazon.