Nona passed away last Sunday after a long illness.
And before that, a difficult struggle with arthritis in her hands. Hands that had done so much for so many.
Nona loved flowers. In fact, she was a gifted arranger of flowers at a shop in Wewoka for years.
And what a cook she was. People at church fought to get one of her pieces of pie at potlucks.
One time she gave me a clear glass dish with a lid, "perfect for a small meatloaf", she had said. At the time I remember thinking it was such a neat dish, but no way, no how, would it work for our family with two boys who were eating us out of house and home. But our story has changed, with both boys grown, and of course, Nona was so right about the dish's perfectness for a small meatloaf. For two. What a treasure to me now.
Nona gave even when it wasn't easy to give. I could tell lots of stories about her generosity and kindness.
Mom must have told Nona I loved old needlepoint. That's when she gave me the happiest, framed needlework her daughter made. How Nona fretted over Donna's battle with cancer. And how hard it was for her to lose Donna and her husband, Jack, within two months of one another. The needlepoint will be appreciated for many years to come at the Johnson House.
Nona loved Vaughn. If we both stopped by to visit her, she barely noticed I was there. She sometimes called him her "boyfriend". She almost always had a little honey-do for him to take care of when we visited.
She loved her church. She and Jack were regulars at Community of Christ in Seminole, favorite pew and all. When she wasn't able to attend anymore, members stopped by as often as possible with communion and a visit. Sometimes she had us stop at Long John Silvers and bring her some fish.
Nona loved her family. And they loved her.
At the funeral Wednesday, I got to see all the family gathered. I put faces with names, the names Nona had bragged about so often when we visited.
The service was lovely. So many flowers and photos to enjoy. Kind words were shared from everyone who knew her.
I got in the car to join the procession to the cemetery, turned on my lights. As soon as we turned the corner, I watched as people who were on their porches stopped in their tracks and paid respects. I love this about Oklahoma, or maybe all of Small Town America (not sure). For a moment, obligations were put off by those who were walking, or those in cars who pulled to the side of the road. All was quiet.
The police officer escorting the procession got out of his car at the intersection, lights flashing, and stood with his hands behind his back, protecting us as we traveled to Nona's final resting spot, up on the hill with Jack and Donna.
Oh, she'll be missed. But what a reunion Nona had last Sunday morning in Heaven. No more pain, no more loneliness, no more struggles.