Juanell's daughter has been dropping by on some afternoons to talk about her moms impending death. We shared bowls of ice cream and long walks together. See October 20, 2000. I guess I thought of Juanell as a mother in many ways. Monday her daughter stopped me on the side of the road while I was out for my walk to tell me she was gone. She had passed peacefully and it was at first a relief to hear she was no longer suffering.....but then yesterday I began to really miss her. I met her when I was ill. We shared a lot in common. What brought us together were our illnesses. She had brain lesions which spread to her lungs.......and they were able to stop them for a time with chemotherapy and radiation, but they returned with a vengance and ravaged her, leaving her alert but unable to controll her body. It is a disease the doctors told us, that is inherited genetically and reveals it's ugly self when a person is exposed to a common virus. She was so heathly, watched what she ate, got plenty of excercise and how that held her back for so long, she did not die easily......that being so healthy. One year I was so ill and had wished to see Ebenezer at a nearby church for Christmas , she was there and made sure I got to go. It was hard work to take me there and bring me home. Leave early enough to get situated, Can you see...are we close enough? Didn't matter to me I was there!

I've entered a time where I suddenly cry at some time or another. My heart is a great big bloated painful thing. I drive crying, eat crying, workout crying, even read a book crying stopping only occasionally to wipe my eyes so the words don't meld. It was hard to go to the gym. Juanell helped me get started there as a part of my rehab and Howard walked by to touch the top of my head as I sat on the mat and asked if I was alright. Consecrated grief

I sent Juanell a card ...I knew it was a goodbye card I wouldn't be seeing her again. Understandably , she didn't want visitors, so I told her about how important her act of helping me start at the gym had been in my life,

I was sick and you cared for me.(Matthew 25:36) I will remember you I wrote to her.

Her daughter tells me Juanell was surpised to hear, the ministry of her act was unknown to her until then.

She gave me a workbook once.....I was having trouble forgiving someone in my life. I worked and worked through that book.

It focused on Psalm 119

Highlight all the pronouns in yellow it instructed...so I did.....highlight nouns in blue...okay, there did that....God's verbs in pink.. yes did that, now what?

I was eager to forgive thought I was doing the right thing you know.

Underline the adjectives. oh okay..... What? This makes no sense....

Who said that and what are they saying? Who are you talking to?

Oh ho I was SO angry.......so ANGRY Slamming out the door I hurtled that book right in the garbage indignant bang that lid down. My body startled, astonished thoughts bolted around checking..... angry? ah yes but at who? God? Juanell?? The person who wrote the book??? My mind swam in a haze.

My anger was sovereign, I began to see. Over the weeks the anger and I were together, this trait became more and more apparent. She refused to open her mouth for any purpose. She presided over herself with an iron tyranny. Her bones sought the surface as if she were proud of them. Her brown eyes burning fiercely, sank into her face loomed above her dwindling body as if trying to break free.

And then late one tedious and tense afternoon, an afternoon where we sat across from each other so long and so immalleable, it seemed as if we would always be fast and motionless like this, I awakened to the idea that maybe she was trying to communicate. She seemed to be X-raying herself, peeling away the bark of her opaque flesh......unwrapping, squeezing out some terrible, oh such an intolerable thought out of the core of herself. Her whole body an apple about to spring through the skin.

Why that was it! That's all it was!

She was showing her structure very well, exposing the very composition of herself, making visible to the whole world the most basic anatomical unit of a self that would not be compromised, that owned a unbudging, inherent rigidity. Because without even personifying anger, it would still be clear that I was angry at the person I was trying to forgive.

I confessed to Jaunell that I'd thrown out the book, how bad I felt about it and the realization about anger that I had reached.

It's not after enlightenment that we find its true meaning, said Juanell. It is the trying to do something in itself that is enlightenment.

You will go on Juanell because I will remember you.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
-Psalm 119:105 (NRS)