May 24, 2004 - "Take Care of Mabel" by Amy Toohill
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"The people in your life are like the pillars on your porch. Sometimes they hold you up, and sometimes they lean on you. Sometimes it's enough to know they are standing by." ~Merle Shain
Amy's story today is such a beautiful example of our responsibility to each other as God's children. Passed from one generation to the next in her family, taking care of Mabel is an honor and a blessing to both Mabel and Amy's family. Be sure to email Amy about her beautiful story!
"Take Care of Mabel"
by Amy Toohill
Have you ever had the privilege of crossing paths with someone in your life that instantly made you feel blessed? Someone who you just met, but yet you felt like you had known them forever? You know the kind: they make you feel special by just being around them. That's how I feel about Mabel.
I met Mabel during one of the worst moments of my life. Even in the darkest hours, little rays of light still manage to find their way in.
My Dad was slowly losing his battle with cancer. It seemed like each day brought more changes, more things he had to give up. It was difficult for him and equally difficult for us, his family, to watch. We helped in every way we could. You see, my Dad was a generous man; he had a very giving heart. I always knew he was a kind person, but it wasn't until he became ill that I realized just how many people he helped. He had a way of taking someone under his wing; making them feel safe and helping them get back on their feet again. He'd never boast about it, in fact he rarely talked about the people he helped. Neither I nor the rest of the family were ever aware of all the people he helped, until after he passed away.
Mabel was one of those people blessed by my Dad. My Dad worked with Mabel's husband, Ray for many years. Even after they both retired, they remained friends. Once my Dad opened his heart to someone, it remained open to them forever. I think maybe that's why, when Ray was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he knew he could turn to my Dad. Ray knew that as time went by, Mabel would need help. He needed the peace of knowing that Mabel would be ok. My Dad made a promise that day that he would take care of Mabel. and he did. For years he was there for her: checking on her each week, balancing her check book each month, preparing her taxes, helping her with things around the house. But more than all of that, he was her friend.
When my dad became ill, everything changed. This strong, powerful man, who was so accustomed to taking care of everyone else, suddenly found that he needed people to take care of him. However, rather than worry about himself, he worried about everyone else. Even when he was in the hospital he asked me to go over to Mabel's and pick up her checkbook. I'd bring it back to the hospital for him and he'd balance it right there from his hospital bed. Every time I would stop at Mabel's we would visit for a while. In that short time I got to know her pretty well. She is honestly one of the sweetest people that I've ever been blessed to meet. Immediately I felt a bond with her.
As my Dad's condition worsened, and the tumors in his brain continued to grow, gathering his thoughts became more of a struggle. Tasks that used to come natural to him now were very difficult. My brother Pat began helping my Dad with Mabel's check book and eventually had to do it alone.
Two months after my Dad's diagnosis, he passed away. Before he died he took care of many things. He wrote letters, he found someone to take over his accounting business and he even wrote his own eulogy. He spent the last months of his life making sure that everyone he loved was taken care of. including Mabel. One night while visiting him at the hospital he was talking about many things that were on his mind. One of the things he said to me was, "Take care of Mabel." I promised him that we would.
It's been over eleven years since my Dad passed away and Mabel is now a part of our family. She is now 96 years old and has outlived most of her own family. I think the world of her and admire how she lives her life. She's such a beautiful person - inside, and out. She has this inner light that sparkles from her eyes, her smile and her heart. She has a tremendous amount of compassion inside and it just overflows onto everyone around her. And her smile, her beautiful smile. when Mabel smiles it's like Gods love reaching out and touching your soul. She has changed my life, made me a better person. She's taken the pain of losing my Dad and made it easier. She's that little glimmer of light that managed to shine through one of my darkest moments. She's an inspiration to me, a testament of hope and endurance wrapped in the faith of a gentle soul. Heaven isn't that far away when Mabel's around. She's my own Angel here on earth.
It's funny how things just seem to fall into place in life... like pieces of a puzzle. Sometimes you don't even realize the importance of one little piece - until you put it in its place. Then suddenly, because of that one piece - all these other pieces in life, soon fall into place as well.
You know, I often think of how proud Dad must be, knowing we're taking care of Mabel just like he asked. But somehow, I believe he always knew that she would also take care of us.
© May 2004 ~ Amy Toohill
Amy's stories "One More Hug", "An Awesome Gift", and "Something I Need to Tell You" are found in our archives, and her work can also be found in the new 2TheHeart book! www.cafepress.com/2theheart . Amy also runs her own yahoo group with other inspirational stories! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wrknprogress/
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I so enjoyed your "House for Sale" story on 2theHeart today. The homey details, the rush, the anxiety--all sound very familiar to me! Your growth in faith and trust in God was wonderfully rewarded, giving us a memorable witness to read. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, meg Mary-Ellen Grisham
House For Sale was exactly the story I needed today. I have been going through a very rough time, and have forgotten to trust God -- completely. This story hit home like no other could. After reading it, I hit my knees and first asked for forgiveness for not trusting Him the way that I should and then asked for His will to be done, no matter what my will is! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a story that brought comfort to my heart when I truly needed it. 2TheHeart is such a blessing in my life! Sincerely, Hannah
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