Monday, September 17, 2007

An ANGEL blew into our lives, in the wake of KATRINA

It was the first Tuesday in September, 2005, and I was running late for my regular noontime AA meeting. The usual gang was there when I arrived but I noticed a newcomer among their midst. She was tall, slim and attractive…and I would have guessed her age to be in the late 50’s.

A first AA meeting in a strange place can be a bit intimidating, but I saw that this new woman was very much at ease. I also noticed that she was sharing some photos and I was shocked when I saw them. They showed the devastation of a house in complete ruins, and I realized that she had been a victim of the horrendous Katrina Hurricane.

She had literally lost everything and had called a friend who lives in Pinehurst and asked if she could bunk in with her for a bit. Of course her friend agreed and also assured her that we had a good AA community here in Moore County.

From the first minute that we all met we were amazed at her positive attitude and her thankfulness at being a survivor. She never complained and, within a few weeks, was able to find a place to live. She fit right into the AA way of life and attended three meetings a week faithfully.

Before long she decided to do some volunteering and became a valuable member of the Red Cross organization in town. She even spoke to local groups...reliving her Katrina experience for their edification and helping to raise money for those remaining victims.

Her cheerful and humble persona was a great addition to our AA meetings and our lives were enriched by her presence. It never occurred to us that this wouldn’t continue for years ... and then the unthinkable happened. Her cancer, which none of us knew she had, came out of remission.

The first half of her second year was spent with radiation and chemotherapy treatments and she became bald as a cue ball. She still attended her 3 meetings per week however, and never once complained. Our little day to day misfortunes seemed to fade away in comparison as we watched her bravely face each hurdle.

Then, miraculously, she revived and her beautiful hair grew back, soft as silk and a lovely dark brown. She was our brave and beautiful AA Angel and even had the strength to attend her daughter’s graduation from College and to chair meetings.

Then…with brutal force the cancer attacked again. She became extremely fatigued and short of breath, but she insisted on making her meetings and, barely 24 hours after her last meeting, she quietly passed away. She had literally blown in to our lives and she taught us acceptance, humility and an abiding love. Those of us who were lucky enough to have known her will be forever blessed.

We will never forget you, Louise.


Blogger Bud said...

Ginny, a beautiful tribute to this very
special lady. I remember her well. Bud

2:23 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

She was, indeed, a very special woman... the kind who reminds you to be grateful for each day and count it as a gift. I admire her grace and dignity.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Some people have such dignity and grace.

5:56 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

The way you wrote about her make me wish I had known her.

7:09 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

As usual, a lovely post Ginnie :)

11:15 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Oh, Ginnie--what a wonderful way to remember someone. It is amazing how tragedy and grace can converge.
It is wonderful that you shared this bit of someone's life with us.

7:46 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Ginnie, Gmail is the free email program provided by Google. I'm sorry I didn't make that clear!

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's obvious that Louise was indeed a very special person. Reading her story certainly does put every day life into perspective.
I also thought of that poem about people crossing our path...some stay forever, and some just drop by and pass on. How fortunate for you that Louise left her footsteps on your journey.

6:55 AM  

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