A week of many goodbyes

Dear Friends,

On this beautiful morning, I am grateful for all of you who are reading my
message. As I look across the fields, my eyes rest on a tiny hummingbird
that is enjoying the nectar from our prickly-pear like cactus. It has been a
while since I paid attention to the magical and colorful hummingbirds; the
songs of the other birds often win the competition. Get out early today and
enjoy the ability to see, hear, move and be alive to new opportunities.

Last week was a very busy week at our local funeral home. In two days our
small county lost four prominent and beloved citizens. Each passing affected
many inhabitants. In a small town like ours, the work of those in the funeral
home has to be emotionally draining as they are not only dealing with people
they have known but also with their friends and family. They are on call 24 hrs.
every day, showing compassion in every single instance that I have witnessed.
I have witnessed many recently; every death has made me value life more.

Yesterday, Atenas paid homage to Maria Eugenia Madrigal Sanchez, better
known to all of us as doña Marujita, who passed away on Friday. She was born
in San José, but lived in Atenas for 57 years. She was the third of 12 children.
She spent her childhood in San José picking coffee, milking cows, feeding oxen
and no doubt assisting her mother in the childbirth of her siblings which lead to
a passion for midwifery and nursing. Her biography is too lengthy for this e-mail
but well worth learning about. There are many local sources of information.

I met and worked alongside this tiny, charismatic woman on many local events
since my arrival in 2002. I always felt that no matter how small my contribution
was, it was accepted and welcomed by her with genuine gratitude. Yesterday, I
waited my turn to pay my respects at her open-casket viewing. I consider that
moment an extremely private and solemn one. As I was having my closure, an
energetic girl of about 10 was suddenly at my side and began to chat with me,
spontaneously, right there in front of Marujita’s lovely, serene face.

I was a little shocked, almost recognizing myself at that age…like a speed bump
in a human interaction. My confusion led me to ask the girl if Marujita was her
grandmother. She replied that Marujita had helped her mother give birth to her,
that she and her mother would not be here if not for Marujita’s intervention. She
wanted to grow up and become a nurse/midwife just like Marujita. I held back
tears and felt tenderness for this child who reminded me of the power of one.
Rest in Peace Marujita, I will always remember you.

Doña Marujita

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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