Monday, August 18, 2008

~Katie: Part II~

The phone rang last Thursday afternoon around 4:45. It was Katie asking if I could pick her up at “the mansion”, our affectionate name for the estate she works at once a week. Now, she usually works from 7 am, and is picked up by the van to take the Amish back to Middlefield at 1:30, so this phone call was odd. I asked why she was there, and she explained: “I cleaned at Caroline’s this morning. At noon she took me to “the mansion”, and she was to pick me up at 4 pm. We were going to buy fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market, and then she was to drop me off at home. It is very unusual that she is not here by now, and no one answers at her house. I’m worried.”

I reassured her that I would be right there, and suggested she call Nancy, one of Caroline’s good friends.

Now…I have never met Caroline in person, but Katie has worked for her for a year-and-a-half. I knew by the fond, familiar way that Katie spoke of her, that she was a very special soul. For example: At Christmastime, Caroline hosted Katie and two of her sisters at her house for a weekend-long Cookie-Baking-Marathon. By Sunday nite, each person took home hundreds of cookies! Katie always had fun with Caroline, and Caroline went out of her way to do extra little things for the three Amish sisters that had recently bought a house together.

The day I received the call from Katie, she and Caroline had spent an enjoyable morning together, which included some deliverymen installing a new gas stove that Caroline was very excited about. The men teased Katie about not lighting any matches until they were very far down the road.

Caroline had promised Katie she could have a three-piece wicker set that she had no need for. She told Katie she’d put it in the back of her van, so that when she took Katie home at the end of the day, Katie and her sisters would have it for their empty back porch. This was SO like Caroline!

By the time I arrived at “the mansion”, an ashen-hued young woman climbed into my car, announcing that she had spoken with Nancy, who was putting a call in to Caroline’s husband at his office. Now, we were both very upset: Katie, about the woman she had a great deal of affection for, and me, for a woman who I ‘felt’ I knew quite well.

The scene was alarming. Police cars were everywhere. Caroline’s van was backed into the driveway, hatchback opened, filled with the wicker furniture, packed for the trip that never happened.

The police asked Katie if she was willing to be questioned, as she was the last person to see Caroline alive. It appeared that shortly before 4 pm, Caroline, age 58, had a massive heart attack and collapsed on her kitchen floor.

After a two-hour interview, I drove Katie back home. We rode in silence, until Katie, tears rolling down her face, said, “If only I had been there. Maybe I could have saved her. Why did God let this happen? We had SUCH a nice morning together. I’m SO mad at Him right now.”

Not the normal, faith-filled retort from my little Amish friend of 17 years. I said a quick prayer for the right words, and said, “You know, Katie….you should be very honored that God chose YOU to be with Caroline on her last day on this good earth. YOU. He knows she loved spending time with you. You said the two of you had a delightful time.”

She dried her tears, and we continued the ride in silence, thinking about this sweet woman whose life was snuffed out way too soon.

On my way back home that Thursday nite, I cried knowing that I missed meeting Katie's dear friend by one fatal day: We had plans to meet Caroline for lunch on Friday.

No….she did not have any signs of heart disease. She lived a healthy lifestyle and was not overweight.

Life is fragile. You never know which day will be your last.

Spend this day wisely.

9 comments:

littlethings1 said...

So enjoyed reading your blog ! And the one about your mother ... oh I can relate ! Except my parents live in their own home still with a care giver and I do get calls similar to that !!!
Bless you !

Carol said...

Those calls are just awful, aren't they! I hope your parents can stay in their own home for a long time. That's really the best way!

BeadyIze said...

What an incredibly touching story! So sad, and yet with the hope and knowledge of heaven, we can still have joy! What wise words you spoke to Katie.

Carol said...

Thank you, beadyize!

Elisa said...

Thanks for sharing this story with us, Carol. It really helps to give a sense of perspective.

Jules~ said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so sorry for the way things happened. Having someone pass on is always a hard shock. Poor Katie I do hope that as time goes on she can put things in the right perspective instead of trying to turn back time and fix it. You were right to say that God let them spend a wonderful day together. It will be a cherished memory for her as time heals her heart.

Periwinkle Studio said...

So true of how fragile life is. I hope the words you gave, about spending the last day of earth together, will comfort her. Thanks for sharing!

CrazyCath said...

I have just read Katie Parts 1 and 2 from the post Amish Innovations (Sept 08) where I was sent by Authorblog.
Complicated, but I like to back read when I know little of a subject and as soon as I saw the title, I know I know nothing of the Amish except what I see in films. So I decided to read these to get a background before I read the original post I came for.

Glad I did. You write so beautifully. And those words you gave to Katie as she berated God for allowing Caroline to die?

Your prayers were answered.
Such great advice. Well written.

(Off to read what I came for now...!)

EmilyEilene said...

Really enjoyed reading this! Just made me tear up. God did give you the perfect words for her!