Saturday, January 18, 2014
By Linda Goodman
My sister called last night and informed me that my friend Elizabeth Davis had passed away.
I met Elizabeth at Asbury United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Virginia when I was in my teens. I got to know her when my baby sister Evelyn married her oldest son, Donald, in 1972. Elizabeth was a quiet, serene woman. She preferred listening to talking. I used to enjoy the peacefulness of her presence. Evelyn looked upon her as a second mother.
I gained an even greater respect for Elizabeth when, after sixteen years of marriage, Donald and Evelyn divorced. After the divorce, Elizabeth (along with her husband and children) continued to treat Evelyn as family. Phone calls and visits between them continued. Hurts were forgiven. My sister remains an important part of the Davis family and is grateful for the their kindness. I thank God that that Evelyn was so blessed.
Elizabeth had been the primary care giver for her husband, Don, during the final months of his struggle with cancer. Like so many other care givers I have known, she was diagnosed with a serious illness herself (in her case, brain cancer) a little more than a year after his death. Shortly after her diagnosis, she had hospice care set up in her home.
When I was with my sister in December, we visited Elizabeth and spent several hours with her. She was so weak that she could not lift her head or even speak, but she was free of pain. Even then there was a peace about her that touched all of us who were present.
Elizabeth’s Daughters, Connie and Sandra, were with her constantly, aided by round the clock CNAs to take care of her medical needs. Three of her grandchildren were there also when I visited. I will never forget her granddaughter, Nicole, arriving in the late afternoon, shortly after she got off of work.
“I’ve been thinking of you all day,” Nicole gently whispered as she adjusted Elizabeth’s pillow and gently kissed her cheek. “I couldn’t wait to see you. I wish I could stay with you all day long.”
Then Nicole began softly singing You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.... As she did, Elizabeth half opened her eyes. After the song was finished, Nicole clasped Elizabeth’s hands and tenderly told her, “Soon, you’ll be in a new home where you will see so many people that you have loved: Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Evelyn’s mom and dad. All your sorrows will disappear and you’ll be happy forever. And it won’t be long before all of us are there, together and happy again.” We could see the twinkle in Elizabeth’s eyes as a smile slowly spread across her face.
It was a holy moment and I felt humbled to witness it. Never before I have known someone at death’s doorstep who possessed such peace about it. What a blessing to all those who loved her! The world has lost one of its truly beautiful people, but there is comfort in knowing that when our own time comes to exit this world and enter the next, she will be among those there waiting to greet us.