Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lamenting a loss

May 14, 2008

To the editor:

Oh, the loss of my friend of 71 years, Joanne O'Brien! In 1984, my 98-year-old mother was dying, and I was caring for her in her last two years of life. Joanne, who called her Grandmother Elliott, came by daily to support me, the caregiver.

In the '60s, Joanne had her Girl Scout troop rake leaves for Grandmother Elliott, because she wanted the girls to have a love of nature and respect for the elderly.

Joanne always inspired me to "live in the world now, take care of today's business and gratefully enjoy God's world." She encouraged me to maintain Grandmother Elliott's wildflower preservation yard 1986 through 2006 before caring for the environment was permitted. In my heartbreak at her death, her spirit is encouraging me as I protest the 94.85 percent increase in property value imposed by Wyandotte County.

The other day, my son said, "Mom, what is that bird? I've never seen one like it in this yard." I said, "Oh, Woody, it's a Baltimore oriole. I haven't seen one since the 1940s." Let's look it up in Grandmother Elliott's bird book, 1906 copyright. Some things don't change; we don't need the Internet!

In the meantime, I quickly went to buy some oriole nectar. They were out, so I purchased hummingbird food nectar to put in our feeder where Woody and I saw the Baltimore oriole. Yesterday, sure enough, there was the Baltimore oriole eating from the feeder.

Joanne's spirit encouraged me to work the Wyandotte County Master Gardeners' plant sale May 9 and 10, and to attend the Bonner Beautiful Commission meeting May 13. Her spirit encourages me to continue my work at returning the birds, the lady bugs, the praying mantis, the stick insects, Bud Acock's bees, the toads, the bunnies and turtles to Grandmother Elliott's yard.

My grief is still almost uncontrollable, but remembering kind Joanne, I will gratefully face each day, caring for the day's business, trying to stretch my money so I can continue to live in Dr. and Mrs. Elliott's and Dori's homestead when I am 100 years old.

Doris Jean Elliott-Watson

Bonner Springs

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