Last week, my friend Lonnie died suddenly.
She was a blessing to many, many people as a Nurse Practitioner and a Labor and Delivery Nurse, and she was a blessing to many, many others as a friend. During her eulogy, the Reverend discussed Lonnie's contributions to our world, including her work as a nurse, her involvement in her church and how her strong Faith affected those around her so positively. She also knit rectangles to be made into afghans for the homeless, was involved in a Prayer Shawl ministry to provide comfort to people who were grieving or coping with a serious illness. (When the Reverend said the shawls were for grieving people, she held up the last shawl that Lonnie had knit, and wrapped herself up in it for the rest of her eulogy.) She knit many scarves "to show people that they are loved" and was a gifted Cross-stitcher who beautified many people's homes and made common objects, such as scissors, beautiful by decorating them with delicate hand-stitched ornaments. She was a beam of joy wherever she was, even at the end of her life, before the last medical procedure she would ever have she was smiling and in good spirits.
I learned, from the experience of losing a friend, what is truly important. It is important that Lonnie was loving and joyful. It is important that she cared for others, even people she would never meet. It is important that she had a strong Faith in Christ, that gave her hope and assurance that now she is in a better place. It is important that she did the best possible job she could to raise her son, who knows that his mother loved him dearly, no matter what. I am thankful for these lessons, even though I don't understand why my friend had to die.
And, in honor of my friend, and to carry on her Legacy of caring for others and meeting their needs, I am dedicating my efforts toward the Red Ribbon Hat Project to her memory.
Lonnie, I'll miss you. Thank you, my friend.