My dear friend Betty passed away last night, very unexpectedly. I feel like I'm being a little dishonest saying that, because Betty has had poor health as long as I have known her. Many years ago, before we met, she was very sick and almost died. The illness left her weak, and dependent on an oxygen tank and an electric wheelchair. So as long as I have known Betty, she's had her oxygen and her chair. Betty's husband worked with my mom, and Betty started attending our Bible study not long after I did. She was friends with everyone, and everyone adored her. Betty was always joyful, even when she wasn't feeling well. She loved hymns and studied her Bible like no one else I know. She loved to read everything that related to Jesus. She crocheted and did "tatting", and made us delicate little bookmarks from time to time. She loved animals and when I would go visit her, she would inevitably tell me stories from her childhood that revolved around dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. When I met her, she had a funny little dog named Miss Sassy, who passed away the year before last. Last year she got Max, her crazy mutt puppy who ran her ragged, but she loved him very much. And she loved everything I cared about. She asked about my pets all the time. She loved seeing their pictures. She loved hearing about my life, and I don't know why, because I think it's pretty boring. She prayed when I asked her to pray, and she sent me encouragement when I was going through hard times. She also loved my sponsor kids- I really got into sponsorship around the time I met her, and she has rejoiced with every new addition to our far away family. I shared my kids' letters with her, and I know she prayed for each of them, and loved them all.
I meant to go visit Betty before my trip. She lives down the street from my mom, who is just a few minutes away from me. I even set up a day to go see her, but something happened and I had to cancel. And I never made it back over there. She prayed for me the whole time I was gone, and followed the itinerary my mom had printed out for her. She emailed me on the trip, and I didn't get the chance to write back when I finally got wifi. She followed my posts as I was headed home, and told me she was glad that I was back when I got to the US. And she said she was praying for me because I wasn't feeling well. I got home early Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon she posted that she wasn't feeling well, and may be headed to the doctor the next day. They apparently had to call EMS that night, and yesterday, when I got home from work, my mom got a call from Betty's husband saying that she was in the hospital and probably didn't have much time left. That was around 5:30. I cried for two solid hours, and fell asleep for an hour. I woke up when my husband came home, told him what was going on, and as soon as I was done, the phone rang. Betty was gone. She passed away peacefully in her sleep.
And I can't handle it. I have been crying almost constantly since it happened. I kept my eyes closed in church this morning because when my eyes are open, I cry. I cried through worship and probably would have cried through the sermon, too, if I hadn't just closed my eyes. It hurts so badly. I feel extra bad because I didn't get the chance to share about my trip with her. I had so many stories to tell her. I even had some pictures of the elephants we saw on safari set aside to take to her- they were her favorite animal, and I made sure to take lots of pictures to share with her. It hurts that I can't tell her about everything that happened. It hurts that I'm not going to be able to go see her anymore. It hurts that I got a letter from Victor yesterday, and I don't see any real point in sharing it on facebook, as I always did, because I posted those letters for Betty. She told me she would always smile when she saw a notification from me, because she knew there was a new letter to read! And I know other people like hearing about my kids, but it's not the same.
I know Betty is in heaven now, and she can breathe just fine and sing praises without getting winded, and she doesn't need her wheelchair to get around heaven. I know I should take comfort in that. But I can't right now, because I am so sad. I am angry that she is gone. I want to keep pretending that she is here. It hurts too much to let myself realize that she's not here anymore. She meant so much to me and I refuse to accept that she is gone, and that I can't email her asking for advice anymore, or see her forwarded emails full of cute animal pictures, or all the other regular interactions I had with her that always left me smiling.
Please pray for Betty's husband Ron, and everyone else that knew and loved her. Betty had no enemies. She loved everyone, and everyone that met her loved her right back. And I feel weird asking, because it seems selfish or something, but please pray for me, too. I am not coping well with this at all. I might be doing better if it hadn't happened so suddenly. Yesterday I was looking forward to posting my safari pictures so she could see the elephants, and then I had a few hours of sheer terror and she was gone.
I miss you, Betty. I know you are busy enjoying heaven and worshiping Jesus, but I hope that God passes along the message that I love you and miss you, and maybe He can fill you in on all the stories I was going to share.