Almost 40 years I was given the gift of a life time, a deeply personal and tender interaction with god that changed my life forever. On a chilly early winters eve, November 1978, my family got the crushing news that our dad had passed away (on) from a sudden and massive heart attack. The grief, confusion and fear that followed in those first few hours rattled every fiber of my being and I felt like I had been chewed and swallowed up completely. I remember the darkness in my room as I cried myself to sleep, darkness everywhere.
Later that evening when we made the pilgrimage to Tremont Street, a long time and loyal friend of my mom’s was there helping, cooking and loving in any way she could.
As the phone calls were coming in and plans were being made there was time we sat around our old kitchen table managing the shell shocked feelings and just being together.
Elaine Guilmette, one of my mom’s best friends welcomed me to sit close to her and I did. As I snuggled my 9 year old body in to her big warm arms, she gently rubbed my head and my shoulders, held me close and said nothing, just let me be… I stayed in that deeply comforting position for well over and hour just being loved and nurtured as I survived chaos.
Elaine’s presence that night changed my life and shaped my heart.
It’s very telling those that around when you need help the most…
Over the decades that followed, whenever I saw her, I always told how much her affection and loyalty comforted me that painful night.
Being of service (the kind that’s needed, not the kind you plan on giving)
This is how the good lord works, and he works through ordinary people.
God, however you envision her, is only truly experienced through the people that live that love. A greeting, an authentic inquiry into someone else’s well being and occasionally intimate acts of kindness like comforting the heart broken, are things we need to do for one another if god is to be a living growing part of our world.
Elaine went home to god last week but her love and example lives on in me and through me.
Thank you Elaine you beautiful, dignified open hearted servant of the planet. Rest in Peace sweet sister.