I first remember meeting Allie when I told her I was going to marry her son. I walked right up to her after a concert at the park when I was about 11 years old and I said, "I just want you to know, I'm going to be your daughter in law someday".
I was so sure of it, too.
I think the fact that my brain-to-mouth filter had not yet developed, and the fact that I was so doe-eyed over her beloved youngest son, endeared me to her. From as far back as I can remember, she was happy to talk to me, she spoke to me as a friend or a peer rather than as an adult to a child. I was in band once a week with her son through the 8th grade, and in choir and band with him all through high school. There were concerts, competitions, trips, and all sorts of opportunties for me to visit with her.
She always welcomed me with a warm and enthusiastic hug. As I grew older, she wanted to know what classes I was taking, how I was doing in school; she would congratulate me when I did well at district competition in band, and rejoiced with me when I made All State Choir. She was always very curious, animated, engaged, and genuinely interested in what I had to say.
I kept in touch with her after high school, visiting her at work when I was in town, and calling when I had news of a new baby or a move, or I just missed her. We seemed to move past the child/adult barrier into woman to woman friendship very easily, without even noticing. She celebrated with me as our family welcomed each of our four children, she would share her concern about that youngest son of hers (because he was a magnet for trouble and she knew I still wanted to know about him), about her older kids, her grandbabies, and what she was busy with. We spoke during some difficult times for both of us, too, sharing heavy burdens, trusting each other with secrets and doubts, and rejoicing in the Providence of God to take care of the details.
We visited several times over Christmas this past year, and were immediately able to pick up where we had left off, even able to dive deep into family dynamic type subject matter in the middle of her workplace. She has always made time for me. She has always shared from her heart with me. In a lot of ways, she provides a strong link to home for me, even though she's not my mother.
Allie's always had this very unique personality... often playful, very generous, worldly wise yet very optimistic, always expecting the best from people, with a soft heart but very strong shoulders. She has been through an awful lot in her life, and you'd never know it by the openness and joy she gives off like a sunbeam.
I'm talking about Allie today, because she had a heart attack followed by immediate quintuple bypass surgery last week, and is not doing well in her recovery. She has been moved to a larger hospital in a bigger city, in the hopes that some more knowledgable doctors will be able to set her on the path to healing. She is responsive but well sedated, and her doctors don't really have a prognosis yet. My heart is just aching for her and for her family. She has 4 grown children, many grandchildren including a grandbaby that's 4 weeks old, and a grown grandaughter she hasn't seen in more than 15 years just waiting for her to wake up and love on them.
Please tak a few minutes to pray for her. She is a wonderful, darling, sweet woman. As much as I know that God would enjoy having her at His side, her family needs her desperately, and she has so many more people to touch with her goodness.
Thank you. Thank you for listening and getting to know Allie. And for praying for her.