Goodbye, Martha

She was beyond old, and a little deaf. She had grown tired of the cold in Illinois and come to Arizona to warm up. She was a night owl, I could hear her TV when I walked past her apartment on the way to the laundry room.

One day, hearing the radio alarm on when I passed her apartment, I wondered why the alarm was ringing in the middle of the afternoon. I picked up my mail at the communal boxes, and heard the alarm on my way back. I knocked on her door. Nothing. I knocked harder. She came to the door, and looked at me smiling.
“It’s good to have youngsters in this place,” she said. I smiled back, it’s been many years since I could have been a youngster, but to her, I was.
“Your radio alarm is ringing,” I said, “so I came to check on you.”
“It is?” she said, “Well, I wonder what it wants.”
I turned it off for her, and chatted for a few minutes.

canning jarShe asked about the canning jar that sits by the bougainvillea shrubs during the daytime. I explained that it contained a solar battery that charged in the sun, then the jar glowed at night, and I used it to cheer me up in the dark.
“We all need one of those,” she said, “Something that soaks up sun in the day.”
In March, she began to make plans to return to the East.
“I can’t manage by myself anymore,” she said, “so I’m going back to the cold.”
She gave me her ironing board and iron, and I planned on giving her the canning jar, so she could take some Arizona sunshine back with her.
Yesterday, she sat down in her apartment and died of an aneurism. She won’t have to go back to the cold. She won’t have to endure the broiler-heat of July here. I hope that wherever she goes, her generous and cheerful spirit will be happy, and that she will have a bit of Light to enjoy.


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Writer, trainer, training developer, certified creativity coach, life coach, artist. Author of Raw Art Journaling and The Inner Hero Art Journal.

3 thoughts on “Goodbye, Martha”

  1. For Martha.

    Deep peace of the running wave to you.
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you
    Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
    I do not know the writer of this Quinn
    but I like what and how it is said….I found it after my Mum died in a similiar way as Martha.

    Lois ( Muse of the Sea) Wed 9th April 2008 Australia.

  2. Oh Quinn! What a beautiful piece for Martha. This touched me very deeply – perhaps because you were going to give her some sunshine to take with her to the cold place. I am so glad she was spared that long trip. What a wonderful parting gift.

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