Tuesday, September 23, 2014


AUGUST 28, 2014

I did not know - until I arrived.  I went straight to her room, as I always do and all her things were gone, all her belongings out of sight.  My heart began to sink.  I rushed out of her room and headed out to find Tanya the director of Kemin Senior Home   - "Where is Lydia?" I asked.  And I learned that she had passed away on August 28, 2014 just weeks before we arrived.  I walked out of the home to take in what I had just learned.  My tears were for my loss, yet I also stopped at what I know -  that she once again can see....and oh the joys of what she is seeing.

I met Lydia over  five years ago.  When our eyes met, I felt so drawn to her.  You see her Slavic roots matched mine - as I looked into her face I saw mine and immediately felt like a sister to her.  We connected immediately.  Every time we would be in Kyrgyzstan, one of the highlights of my time there would be to visit and sit with Lydia.  She was an amazing woman.

Lydia was a teacher in her youth - she taught mathematics.  She had a daughter and lived with her daughter for a period after her daughter first got married.  Things did not work out and she became homeless.  It was at this time that she was accepted into Kemin - House of God Friendship Center.  At this time her sight was not good, but she was still reading and she could see when we arrived and always knew my face - and greeted me with, "Ruuuuuby."  How I always looked forward to her greeting, which expressed her pleasure in my company and knowledge of our special relationship. She shared many stories with me and in her stories, she craved to be with her daughter and not be in the center.

After a period of time at Kemin, her daughter wanted her to return to be with her.  Lydia left and for a short while lived with her daughter and son-in-law once again.  Then suddenly her daughter passed away and the son-in-law did not want Lydia with him.  She returned to Kemin for the last time, however this time her diabetes was troubling her and she was losing her vision.  She was able to see only shapes, light and dark.  In addition she had cataracts on her eyes.  This was quite troubling and we attempted to get a surgery for her - - and this could not be done.  Her health was far too compromised.  Heart, diabetes, etc.

I saw Lydia last when we were here in the Spring.  We sat for a time and chatted.  I told her I would see her in September and she said she would likely not be there.  We teased a bit and I told her she had better be there and I would be in to see her and visit once again.  Her words were piercing, yet I could not accept what could be a reality.

Walking into her room today - her being absent and finding out she was gone, broke my heart.  I have lost such a wonderful friend, a beautiful lady and treasure.  Yet today I know she walks on streets of gold and someday I will join her and we will laugh together and see the beauty of all around us.  Vision will not be a problem.  I will miss her and as other babushka reached out to me and said they were sorry - they knew too - of our special relationship.  How my heart aches for the reality of today.  I loved Lydia.


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