Stay and Play

Republished in honor of my Aunt Esther who passed away four years ago.  Originally published March 4, 2011.

Ding! Ding! Jeff needed something.  He was ringing his bell.  He didn’t have the strength to project his voice enough to call out.  He preferred his bed over the couch.  Many times I was working someplace else in the house when he needed a drink, or wanted to try a cup of soup, or was ready for more meds.  Sometimes he just had something he wanted to say or was awake and wanted company.  He’d ring the bell.  Ding! Ding!  It was a Christmas bell with an angel on the top.  We had a few of them.  I didn’t set them out this Christmas.  I don’t like the sound anymore.

We’d gotten the idea from my cousins.  They had used a bell with my aunt.  Two months after Jeff was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, my favorite aunt was given the same diagnosis.  One of her daughters called me.  “We don’t think Mom is being up-front with us.  We don’t know what all this means.  We thought maybe you could understand the test results and find out what is going on.”  “I’ll call her.”

I didn’t talk or visit with her frequently, but she was my favorite.  She shone of Christ.  She loved Him.  She was a joy to be around.  I called.  She was happy to hear my voice and I to hear hers.  She got out the MRI report and read it to me.  My heart sank.  She had “innumerable” spots on her lungs and liver.  She was South for the winter.  She played accordion with a group and they were counting on her to play with them in a couple of weeks.  She was hopeful that she would feel well enough to do it.  Did I think she should leave right away or stay and play?  Stay and play, dear aunt.  Stay and play.  Her accordion performances had meant so much to her over the years.  She needed to do this one more time.  She wanted to know what her options would be for treatment when she got back home.  I said little.  She assured me, “I’ve lived a full and blessed life.  I’m ready to rest if that’s what is coming.  I’ve lived my years.”  Stay and play, dear aunt.  Stay and play.  “I’ll talk with you more after you get home,” I promised.

After the concert she and my uncle headed north to their home and medical care.  It was a long and painful trip for her.  I never had a chance to talk with her again. She died a very short time after – her abdomen fully consumed with the disease.  I was getting ready to leave on a plane to go see her when I got the call.  I went to her memorial service a few weeks later.  They had accordion music at the service.  And it was as beautiful as she had been.  Someday in heaven I’ll hear her play again.  And there we will stay and play as long as we wish.

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment


  1. This reminds me of how we (I) get caught up in so many things that aren’t important in life. This is a good thing for me to read. People are important, not things.

    • 🙂 Your closing made me smile. I tell my kids that frequently- probably should tell them more often. People are more important than things.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: