My friend Carolee died the end of November, 2013. She had been fighting cancer. I first got to know her as my visiting teacher. She was faithful about coming every month. So generous and kind. She was constantly offering me items from her garden and trees, books to borrow, etc.
I got to know her better through playing the organ. She was one of the ward organists, and had been doing it for years and years. Again, she offered to help me, to give me organ arrangement books, showed me the settings she had put on the organ. Just so kind, and so much energy! Even when she didn't feel well she still carried on in her callings.
Her playing of the organ was amazing to me. Though she didn't keep time very well (“It's always been a struggle of mine”, she confessed), the fact that she played at all was an incredible feat. She couldn't see the notes very well because of her failing sight. She couldn't feel her feet while she played the pedals. She also lost some feeling in her fingers after her back surgery. She basically played the organ from memory. I know I could never do that.
I felt prompted to visit her about two weeks before she died. She had been doing so well with her chemo treatments, and then suddenly wasn't. I visited her at the hospital. I know she recognized me, but could only say “okay…okay”, over and over. In retrospect, I think she was trying to tell me that she was okay, and that it would be okay. I think, in a way, she was trying to comfort me. At the time she had a nurse sitting with her, making sure she kept her oxygen mask on (she kept trying to take it off). She said “pray”. That's the only other word I heard her say besides “okay” and “yes” the last few times I saw her. The nurse offered a prayer of comfort. It was such a lesson to me. She was constantly turning to her Heavenly Father in her time of need. And even though she couldn't say the words, she was praying in her heart.
I’m glad that I got to know Carolee. I hope that I can be as stalwart, as faithful, and as strong as she was. Thank you for blessing my life, Carolee!