I have a short story I want to tell that happened in our community last week.
Ada and Emma
Ada and Emma were widow ladies. Friends of ours.
Both in their nineties. Both tough and smart. They were sisters.
Ada had no biological children. One adopted who hasn’t come around for years. Emma had nine of her own.
Ada had lots of money from when she and her husband sold their farm. Emma not so much, but plenty enough.
Ada was decisive and competitive. Emma quiet and reflective.
Their homes were separated by only a few feet in Berlin, Ohio. Both their husbands died ten days apart in the Spring of 1995.
Ada invited Emma to move in with her. Emma deliberated. Will her nine children be shy about visiting if she moves? What should she do? Finally she moved.
After about six years together they moved into a new condo that opened just a few hops down the street. Then another ten years together.
Ada had a stroke and she was moved to a nursing home. Her previously sharp mind was slowly losing out.
Emma moved into the retirement division.
Nearly another two years passed.
Ada kept losing out. She wasn’t able to recognize her visitors anymore. She even apologized to us because she thought she should probably know us. She didn’t.
She got weaker and weaker. Her extremities were becoming discolored. A real cliffhanger. She still kept going. She kept hanging on.
Last week her nurse said there is probably a voice she still needs to hear. Ada is wanting to leave but she can’t. Is there someone who was really close to her who hasn’t been here?
It was Emma, of course.
Emma had refused to visit Ada. Emma wanted to hang on to her good memories of her. She didn’t want Ada’s current condition to be her last memory.
Emma’s daughter Esther carted her to Ada’s room.
From Ada’s bedside Emma took Ada’s cheeks in her hands and said, “I am Emma your sister. I came to tell you goodbye.” Then repeated, “I am Emma your sister. I came to tell you goodbye. Can you hear me?”
Emma let go of her cheeks and sat down.
Four minutes later, Ada’s breathing began to slow. Her perpetual mouth movements slowed to just a few per minute.
Reuben, Ada’s nephew, called the nurse.
The nurse checked her chest.
Ada was gone. No movement of her muscles as her breathing slowed to a halt.
96 full years. That was it.
Now, peacefully, at rest.
We thought she didn’t recognized her visitors. She must have recognized her sister. Or, really, what just happened?
She was finished. Her race was run. The dash between the dates completed.
Did she know us?
After I heard this story I wished we would have gone to visit more often. She probably knew us even if it didn’t seem like it. Or, no?
I don’t know all the answers concerning consciousness. Old age. Or dying. But I believe the power of love and the power of relationships just may be much greater than I thought.
Ada was a dear friend of ours. Her time had come.
Rest in peace, Ada. We love you.
What makes story so immensely powerful? It’s definitely in the telling. That’s where the power is. Stories are made powerful when they are told.
Stories connect lives. Stories connect the dots.
Is there a story you have heard recently that needs to be documented to inspire or inform others? What can you do to capture it before it’s gone forever?