I’ve just returned after 6 days in Creston and wish to update you on happenings there. This is how things unfolded in my experience.
The RN in Elaine’s unit reported that Bill has been faithfully visiting Elaine every day and sometimes twice a day for the past months. He has been very attentive to Elaine and they often sat together holding hands. Bill was aware of weakening the last two weeks and asked that he receive no visitors. The evening before his passing, the staff took Elaine to visit Bill and she was aware of his condition. The next morning when she was informed of Bill’s passing, Elaine said, “He’s in a much better place”. Bill died Good Friday morning.
The next day I arrived in Creston to support Elaine. She met me with Bright eyes, serene and at peace, and speaking appropriately in short phrases. Elaine accepted a DQ trip and allowed nail care, both of which has been resisted in the last while. On Wednesday she was taken by Linda, her daughter-in-law and two grand daughters to the Blueberry Patch where Jim, Marion and I met them. It was the first time in 3 days when Elaine exhibited a bit of confusion and babbling, (which we were able to shortly stop). Elaine was gracious and smiled a lot.
On Thursday was a memorial held for Bill at the Kitchener Home Style Café in the back room reserved for us. We were given menus and Zellie, Bill’s little sister, kept us pleasantly organized. Her husband, George was helpful with Bill’s affairs. Elaine’s son Stephen, and his son Daniel, as well as married daughter (Janice) and husband completed the family.
While we waited for our lunch to arrive, Zellie spoke of Bill as a child and of his education and work in teaching school. I then gave an overall story of Bill from the last 35 years, his interests, accomplishments and ministry with Elaine. In describing his loveable character, I took the liberty of including Lori and Bill’s mutual love of horses, watching Elisabeth and Bill arm in arm heading for the Bakery, and George enjoying Bill’s story telling with lots of laughs. I explained that there would be a multitude of people who would love to be present and speak a word for Bill.
Elaine was stellar in her performance. She remained in short appropriate phrases, reading the menu and choosing a turkey sandwich. Marion and I were amazed. She was obviously enjoying the comments on Bill and then motioned to Marion and Jim to carry on with words for Bill. Then Elaine motioned to the remaining visitors to continue. When Georgina talked about the family they had in “Gramma and Grampa”, especially Bill’s interaction with her little son, the family visibly softened with a few tears. Charmaine continued such loving pictures of Bill and Elaine—more softening and reflective nods from family. Elaine would not eat until the rest of us visitors spoke about Bill (Grant, Dale, and then George). Angie (granddaughter) gave a beautiful presentation on Bill’s gentleness and the fun times she remembered with him.
We were all in sweet memories when Elaine noticed tears in her granddaughters and started to address them in babble. We soon recognized the story that Elaine wanted to relate to them and when she briefly paused, I stepped in to give them the story. It was about the young man who died at the wheel of his vehicle late one night and the trauma his family experienced at the loss of him. It seemed that Elaine had merged two stories in the one so I spoke of the second story when the Lord comforted the family in taking this son for a much greater purpose than what he could experience here on earth. I also picked up that Elaine wanted to say to her grandchildren that when life is taken early in youth or later, that God has a wonderful plan for each one on the other side. Elaine looked pleased and no more babble occurred. Stephen had taken Elaine’s hand and spoke that this actually happened in their neighbourhood and that his mother, Elaine, had comforted the family. Gradually Stephen’s children surrounded their Father and Elaine, asking for more of the story and listening to Elaine as she spoke love to them and encouraged them in the Lord. It became such a touching family scene, that the rest of us moved into quiet little groups. Elaine remained so loving and gracious and lucid. We were amazed at her stellar performance and the wonderful acknowledgments given to Bill.
I apologize if this rendition is too long for your computers but I know your love and interest in this very special couple. I carried your condolences to Elaine, and she was very aware, receptive and pleased. Klaas and I remain with much love for you all, Kristal
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