A very dear friend of my parents died last night. Her name was Alta. The day after she retired from her job in November, they found that she was seriously ill. Almost three months to the day, she died in hospice care. My heart aches tonight for those who love her.
At Christmas time we visited my folks. My mother asked me to make a prayer shawl for Alta. I was honored to be asked and we quickly went to the Ben Franklin store to pick up the supplies. For two days I prayed and crocheted while football games, BBC reruns and other goofiness went by on the television. I prayed for Alta and her husband Rusty. I prayed for my parents whose lives have been so warmly touched by these dear friends. I prayed for their small mountain congregation and their priest who serves them.
After we left, Mom and Dad delivered the shawl to Alta at the hospital. She was due to have her second major surgery in a month. In the movement from room to room, the shawl was misplaced. But last weekend, Rusty found it packed in with some things. He tried to give it back to my mother. But she said no, it was his and it was packed with prayers for him to hold onto.
I sit tonight hundreds and hundreds of miles away from my parents, wishing I could do something to help them in their grief. I can't fix a meal or stay up late for a long chat. I can't help with practical matters. I can't do much of anything. But I will keep praying. And my mother has reminded me again, what a precious gift that can be. And so Mom and Dad, please know I am praying for Rusty and his family and for the two of you. Praying for comfort and love and strength.