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Alice (& a bit of Bruce)

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

She looked at me with piercing green eyes.

"Why are you here?"

I had travelled far to see her, so I was surprised at her question.

"Because I love you. I wanted to see you."

"Bullshit! Leave and never come back!"

I had to tell myself, It's not Alice. She would never say that. It's the paranoia dementia speaking.

Alice seemed to have forgotten I was there. She murmured something about wanting the blonde caregiver fired. "She keeps talking to me about Jesus." There was no point in mentioning there was no blonde caregiver.

The green eyes seemed to return from another world. They smiled.

"My dear. It's so nice to see you. I didn't see you come in." "It's lovely to see you Alice. You are looking well."

"Not bad for 96. I was telling Bruce I need to get out into the greenhouse and tend my orchids."

I didn't remind her Bruce had passed away four years before, and the abandoned greenhouse was full of empty pots.

"You have always had such beautiful orchids."

The green eyes smiled.

"So, how was China?"

What would be interesting to tell her?

"It was an amazing experience. I would never have imagined I would be teaching high school there."

Alice got very quiet.

"Is this all there is to life? Is this what I worked so hard all my life be confined to this bed...this wheelchair?"

Alice blinked, obviously interested in a new thought.

"Will you stay for dinner? I'll tell the maid to set another place."

"I'd love to. Thank you."

Alice died shortly after that visit four years ago while I was in Uganda. I wish I had been with her. I would have loved to have been able to hold her hand, to tell her I loved her, appreciated her... more than I could ever say. Alice was my mother's sister. When I was a young teen, Alice took me into her home when no one else wanted me. I am so grateful to God for orchestrating that.

Alice told me a few years ago if I didn't stop talking to her about Jesus she didn't want to see me anymore. I told her I would miss her. Thankfully, months before her eyes closed forever on this life, Alice prayed with me and asked Jesus to be her Savior. The dementia dissolved like a mist in the morning sun. Alice became sweeter, kinder, more thankful. The caregivers commented on it. It was surprising to see the change. I am so thankful I will see Alice again one day.

I visited Alice's home recently. That was a mistake. I hadn't been there since her funeral. It was upsetting to see a place that had so lovingly been cared for by Alice and Bruce in such complete disrepair. How could the place look so ruined in just four years? Several tiles on the steps leading to the front door were loose or missing. The paint on the house was blistered and peeling. The yard, once a place the Van Dusen Garden Society visited, was an overgrown mess. The wooden walkway was broken, with branches from the fig tree lying across the path. Bruce had once spent eight hours a day tending his nearly one-acre garden. What had once been vibrant and beautiful now looked old and tired. The greenhouse, once filled with Alice's prized orchids, was now dilapidated and abandoned. It was heartbreaking to see all the work Alice and Bruce had poured into their property wasted. I cried. My comfort now is knowing Alice is in the most amazing garden ever.

I wrote Bruce a letter telling him about God and Heaven shortly before he stepped into eternity. I had to write it, as he had hearing loss, and I didn't want him to miss anything. He smiled indulgently, then handed the letter back and said he didn't believe a word of it. I'm crying as I write this. Thinking of Bruce being separated from God forever is unbearable. I hope when he was in a coma, the week before he died, he had a chance to consider where he would spend eternity. I pray he chose wisely. He was such a beautiful man.

If you have loved ones, like my dear Alice and Bruce, please tell them about God who loves them while there is still time. Blessings, Beloved of God.

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