The main speaker in my column of November 8th, “Precious In His Sight: Bill Montgomery” (http://www.berksmontnews.com/opinion/20161103/person-to-person-precious-in-his-sight-bill-montgomery), which talked about the home going of Bill Montgomery, indicated his death was no accident. Even though God’s timetable may not be ours, God’s timetable is always right. He never is too early or too late. Was it a coincidence that Barb and I delayed a trip to Vermont to visit family so we could attend Bill’s memorial service? I think not! The service so impressed me that I received permission from Bill’s family and the speaker to relate to you the special message given. That message not only tremendously encouraged me, but prepared me for the death of my sister, Linda, on November 13th, at the age of 75. The events of the last few days encouraged me and relating them to a family member the day Linda died just amazed me in the Lord’s timing and resulted in my looking up the song “In His Time” by the Maranatha Singers! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URdDVDA0WwQ), which I listened to many times while writing this column.
Linda had been sick with various problems for well over a year. On the day my column ran, Tuesday, November 8th, I called Linda on her cell phone in the morning. I talked with her only briefly because she was being transported from the nursing home to the hospital for internal bleeding. Our calls always ended with each of us saying: “I love you.” After being stabilized at the hospital, I received a call on Wednesday that she was being transferred back to the nursing home because there was nothing more they could do for her other than to keep her comfortable. I called my brother, Stephen, and his wife, Ruth, to see if they could meet us in Oswego, New York, to visit Linda. Their schedule was such that they could not leave until Saturday morning. They were going to make the 240 mile trip to see Linda, visit and return home the same day. As we talked, he decided to stay overnight. While Steve and Ruth were in route, Barb and I were driving our route of 300 miles. Steve and Ruth had just gotten out of their car and walked a few paces when we pulled in. What timing!
By the time we reached Linda’s room, eight family members were present. She was non-responsive, but still alive. We all stayed in her room an hour and a half or so seeing Linda and reminiscing, not just shedding some tears but also laughing about stories of Linda, who was an excellent cook but her meatball recipe, including ingredients of peanut butter and jelly didn’t go over too well. Our spirits were lifted during our conversations with each other. All of us planned to go to visit Linda the next morning. However, she passed away at 1:00 AM the next day. Thanks to the funeral director, we all were able to visit Linda one last time at a viewing at 9:00 AM.
God provided other people to cheer us. One of the recent sayings I have begun using is: “You can be my new friend!” Sure enough, we met some new friends. When we went to dinner, we met a lady and her mother. Barb made sure of this by accidently bumping into the mother. They had been there before us and we made friends with them when I kiddingly reprimanded the daughter for not bringing our VIP passes with her so we could follow them when it became their turn to be seated. We renewed our friendship with them about 16 hours later when they stepped off the elevator in the hotel where we were staying. They were going to check out and we were going to our room to prepare to check out.
It was a blessing to have several family members together during this time and there were many hugs before we all left for home around noon. But wait, I have some other new friends to introduce to you that lifted my spirits. We were going to drive about 150 miles before taking a break. However, we only went 100 miles and decided to stop at McDonalds. As we walked into McDonalds I saw six people in line to place their orders who were dressed in camouflage fatigues: One 21 year old girl, four teenage boys and a middle aged gentleman, who was their leader. These six people were from the Civil Air Patrol: “a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions. CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross.” (Google: Civil Air Patrol).
I was so impressed with these young men and the young lady that I carried on a conversation with them and treated them to their lunches. Okay, it wasn’t a five star restaurant, but you know how the saying goes: “It’s the thought that counts.”
I could tell you a lot more about Linda, but for brevity sake, let me just cite two things she did for me. Being older than I, I always checked with her for information that I was too young to remember as a kid or those things I was not privy to concerning our family history and events. The second, and largest thing that impacted my life that Linda was responsible for was to bring Barb, my now wife of 49 years (three days from writing this), into my life. Linda brought Barb home for dinner after the two of them did volunteer work in inter-city Philadelphia. Although she anticipated introducing Barb to my best friend, Barb was “so enamored” with me, my best friend didn’t have a chance! THANKS LINDA!
Timing is everything and the Lord is always right: “In His Time”. How else could the timing and the people above have affected me the way they did?
I love you Linda!
Jeff Hall, of Honey Brook, contributes columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers. Questions/commentsmay be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org