Precious time spent with Sister Beth…Las Vegas, here we come!!!…

A pretty female bushbuck in the garden of our holiday home in the bush.

Today’s post will be a “rush job.” In an hour, we have to leave the Milwaukee hotel to head back to the nursing facility where Sister Beth is under meticulous care as, sadly, life is drifting away from this amazing woman who gave her life and devotion to the Catholic Church as a fine teacher.

Through her 69 years of service, at 16 years of age, beginning in 1952, she joined the order, School Sisters of St. Frances, before Tom was born. With all of her commitments,  she also maintained a closeness to her own family as well as her parish family.

Over the years Sister Beth, stayed in close touch with her many siblings, visiting as often as she could, and providing faith, love, and kindness to the many generations of the huge Lyman family.

I always had my own unique relationship with Sister Beth, in awe of her sacrifice and enamored by her easy conversation and knowledge of the world. Often, people assume nuns are so sheltered from the “real world.” But, for many, their understanding of the challenges of life is profound and authentic, allowing them to offer support and counsel to those in need.

Yesterday, when we visited her at the beautiful and well-maintained care facility for retired School Sisters of St. Frances, we were saddened to see her in a weakened state, lying in a recliner chair in the pristine private room, barely whispering when she spoke, but happy to see us.

We chatted with her filling her in on family news and with tidbits on our recent experiences. She seemed fascinated by our extended stay in lockdown in the Mumbai hotel and how we managed to get through those ten months. At times, the three of us chuckled. At other times, we all had tears in our eyes.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of my dear sister Susan, who passed away in a hospice facility last August while we were in India in the lockdown. There was nothing we could do but phone her often, extending our love and concern. My sister Julie and Susan’s daughter Kely were with her at the end. She took her last breath while Julie was reading one of our posts. I cried all the harder hearing this but was grateful she enjoyed our journey all those years. It was a sad time we’ll never forget.

In all those years we were traveling, I spoke to Susan almost weekly as she loved hearing about our adventures. When she was well, years earlier, she too was a world traveler.

This morning at 10:00, we’re returning to the care home to say goodbye to Sister Beth. This may be the last time Tom sees his beloved sister, and it won’t be easy for him, nor will it be for me. It’s human nature to feel sorrow for the loved one we’re potentially losing now while bringing up the sorrow of those we lost in the past.

On a lighter note, tonight at 9:00 pm, we’re flying to Las Vegas on Delta (ugh!) on a packed plane. We weren’t able to select our seats (very odd) and will be squeezed in tight amongst others, Tom by a window and me in the middle across the aisle from him at the back of the plane. Fortunately, the flight is only 3 hours, 20 minutes, and hopefully, they have inflight movies to kill time.

Arriving at 10:50 pm, due to a 2-hour time difference, we’ll immediately get our bags and rental car and head to our hotel in Henderson, a 20-minute drive from the airport. Of course, at the late hour, we won’t see Richard until the next day, most likely meeting for dinner after his workday. I am so looking forward to it.

Next time you hear from us, we’ll be in Henderson, Nevada, at the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa, where we’ll stay for the next six nights, including our late arrival tonight.

Please stay tuned. We’ll be back!!!

Photo from one year ago today, July 18, 2020:

Dinner on day #117 while in lockdown in Mumbai, India, one year ago. Tom described my chicken curry (on a bed of steamed cabbage) as looking like cat puke. I dismiss his observation and thoroughly have enjoyed this spicy, delicious meal but later changed to alternating chicken and salmon each night when this meal raised my blood sugar to a high level. For more photos, please click here.

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