I was very privileged to be part of Emily’s care team for over two years.
Getting to know Emily and helping to care for her was a great blessing to me, to my family, and to all the other caregivers on the team.
It never ceased to amaze us how loved Emily was by so many! By her daughters and sons and their families, by friends and extended family members, basically by everyone who knew her—from her hairdresser Pat, to her dear piano teacher Alice, to the women in her bible study, to “Willie”—someone we never met, but who regularly sent Emily beautiful bouquets of flowers.
The caregivers had a variety of gifts and talents and interests. And Emily was interested in just about everything. So, we read poetry and devotionals and biographies and fiction. We played card games, and Emily even played Free Cell on her iPad.
We watched inspirational movies, classics, ballets, operas, and musicals.
We listened to symphonies and hymns and classical music.
A few of the women were especially fond of taking Emily shopping so she could pick out a new outfit. And they enjoyed painting her fingernails and toenails and letting Emily choose the color.
And we sang—hymns, camp songs, gospel songs, Broadway songs, and of course, the Michigan fight song!
Emily was special in that she was always interested in others. She loved hearing about your day, your dreams, your trips, your family. Two of our sons got married this past summer and Emily patiently looked at dozens of wedding photos! And she listened to the songs I wrote for their weddings.
Emily didn’t complain—about pain, or meals, or her diminishing physical abilities.
She was gracious and kind. And she LOVED for us to pray with her and for her. Always.
She knew her Savior and was ready for whatever He had for her.
She was an inspiration to me and to all of us.
I want to share a prayer that has always challenged me because I like to be in control. I think this poem is a beautiful description of Emily’s heart:
“Thank You, Lord, that I can safely commit my location and situation to You. I can 'be willing for You to shift me anywhere on life’s checkerboard, or bury me anywhere in life’s garden, gladly yielding myself for You to please Yourself with, anywhere and any way You choose.'
Thank You that I can trust You with my future places—ready to go, ready to stay.
So, I rest in the fact that You have me in this place for this day, and I praise You that You will faithfully guide me throughout life to just where You want me to be.
Ultimately, my place is in You.”
We thank Emily for the way her life inspired us, we thank her family for trusting us to care for her, and we thank God for her 92 years and for His great love and care for His children.