Words and pictures from the author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries
Friday, September 4, 2009
Now the Day Is Ended
Another of my older neighbors is gone. Not a native, but a newcomer like myself, about ten years ago Eileen and her husband moved 'next door' into a lovely new-built log house on the adjoining property where her son and his family lived.
A charming little lady in the steel magnolia tradition, Eileen was resolutely cheerful in the face of trouble. She'd been an Army nurse in WWII and later, nurse at Queen's College. Eileen had stories to tell and a lively inquiring mind -- always reading or listing to her beloved collection of classical music.
Eileen adored her son and her grandsons and she adored her log house in the woods. She had quite a few happy years there, even after her husband passed away. She fed the birds, sat on the porch and wrote poetry, and had a number of friends who dropped by for tea now and then.
But as age began to take its toll, she could no longer live alone. Firm in the face of the inevitable, she decided to go into a nursing home. I adopted her old dog Molly and Eileen made the best of institutional life.
I visited as often as I could and she was always eager for news of Molly and news of my alleged career. Her window sill had been turned into a bookshelf --"At least I can still read," she said often.
It was about two weeks ago that I saw her -- cheerful, though it was obvious she was in pain. Most of her days were spent in bed, due to her osteoporosis. But she didn't want to talk about that. She had her memories of her happy times.
Eileen passed away Sunday night -- pneumonia, 'the old person's friend' it's sometimes called. I can't be sad -- what was sad was seeing such a vital spirit trapped in a failing body.
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