When the initial hubbub quieted to murmurs, and someone had taught someone else how her scarf was tied, Nora again had brought us a quote… "When I read a good thought, I like to share it with someone," she explains. We're happy to be the recipients of her generosity. I think I'll call it
Breakfast Club Lesson #2:
"Sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place."
This one generates considerable discussion. Could it be true? What would that look like? When our plans are falling apart, is it possible that the way is being cleared for something better?
Janet has happy news to share. Recent scans show that her cancer treatments have been successful, and her five year battle is finished…or at least there is a reprieve from the battle. She looks good, and feels better than she has for ages. Libby looks wistful. Next week she'll begin a new, more powerful round of chemo since her current one "isn't doing a thing."
Suddenly her face brightens – "I know, I'll tell that doctor, give me what Janet had. That's what I want!" We laugh with her. It is Libby's way, always upbeat, always looking for hope, always ready with her warm smile; her quick quips often bring laughter. Of course no one around that table, including sweet Libby, knows what the coming days will hold for her. We hope, we pray, but we cannot guess how radically things will fall apart in a quick week's time. Her battle with cancer is nearly finished as well, but it's a different end than Janet's joyful victory.
The next gathering of the Breakfast Club will have an empty chair…
Things were falling apart, shutting down. Her son kept vigil, and her beloved daughter arrived from half a country away, just in time. Without fanfare, Libby quietly stepped across the threshold to the glory of forever, where I think she discovered that everything had finally fallen into place, where all was, finally as it should be. For her.
But we are still reeling from the news that our Breakfast Club has begun to fall apart. For at our table there will always be an empty place. Her place.
And it will be a gaping hole.
The way she always made us laugh,
the way she laughed at herself.
Once she came breezing through the door somewhat later than the lunch time we'd set. She directed our attention to her hair…"the reason my hair looks like I just got out of bed is… because I did." Her chemo had exhausted her, so she took a quick nap…and woke up three hours later, almost too late for our gathering. But she came.
Another time there was a discussion about various difficult aspects of cancer treatment and the accompanying side effects. "Oh, hair," she quipped. "Everyone is so concerned about losing hair. But think about it. It's not such a big deal to have your hair fall out. It doesn't hurt, it doesn't make you sick, and it'll grow back."
She didn’t have much sympathy for people complaining about having a bad hair day either: "Bad hair day?!? I want to ask them, how would they like to have a NO hair day? Or a whole month of them??" And then she laughed again.
Her presence at Curves was like a bright splash of yellow paint, especially on dreary days. "We can't quit," she once quipped, "we have too many shirts!" She seemed to believe that time on the circuit was more about relationships, and less about exercise, although she was glad to combine the two if the exercise didn't interfere too much. To me, she was a Big Valley version of another funny redhead, Lucy, with Nora nicely filling the role of Ethel.
her way of using my name and making me feel like it was vital that I was present.
It didn't seem to matter in the least (to either of us!) that she graduated from high school before I was born.
She was always encouragingly interested in what was going on in my life. She asked questions and she cared.
She was like that with everyone.
She was a friend. A true friend who took time, who noticed, who listened, who cared.
Who made us all laugh. so. hard. I keep returning to her gift of laughter, a gift she gave to us over and over again.
One time she gave each of us
a tiny silver star magic wand,
(for use whenever necessary!)
I still have mine.
I only wish I could have used it
to keep her with us awhile longer...
But I am making peace with Libby's abrupt departure,
for in those last few days,
when life shifted from difficult to impossible for Libby,
When it looked like things were falling apart,
they were actually falling into place.
Good bye, my cheerful friend.
Enjoy the glories of heaven.
One day we will again laugh together.