Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Library Angel is...an Angel

You may remember that back when Finn was in kindergarten, his year started with a lot of struggles as the result of his Sensory Processing Disorder. You may also remember that I wrote about a woman, our school's librarian, who stepped in and made life bearable for Finn during those first weeks of school and while his occupational therapy kicked in and he learned to cope.

I wrote about Ruth, who I called The Library Angel, several times. Yesterday afternoon, our school principal e-mailed us to let us know that Ruth had passed away that morning.

I'm sad, but Ruth was ready to go, and that gives me some peace of mind.

I like the staff at our school--they're a great group of people. But there was something special about Ruth. I'll never forget how she took Finn under her wing that horrible year. She was a safe haven. She listened to him when he was sad or scared. She didn't bark at him and tell him to go back to his seat at lunch. She was exactly what he needed. Exactly what we needed.

Ruth was one of the first staff members I met at the school when we moved here. I arrived late to my first PTA meeting and crept into a seat at the back. Ruth was sitting in the back as well. She swiveled in her seat and with a big smile, thanked me for coming.

We became friends. She was in remission from her first bout with cancer and we swapped stories of different types of treatment--we were both very into alternative options as well as traditional medicine. I worked in the library every Thursday and during the school's book fairs each spring and fall. We enjoyed talking the role nutrition can play in healing. I used to make experimental raw foods and taste test them on her. If it was horrible, she never let on.

The library has so many loyal volunteers, all jockeying for position to have their favorite day. And Ruth was the reason. She was a person you just wanted to be around. Positive, funny, wry, smart, athletic, just a great enthusiasm for life and living.

I'll leave you with a little story about Ruth that makes me smile even as I'm writing it. I know some of you follow Ruth's blog and so as we all read, on April 22, Ruth's daugheter, Sarah, posted that a blockage Ruth had been dealing with was back. This had happened before, but Sarah's post seemed more definite this time--there was nothing else to be done. We were traveling, but every chance I got, I accessed Ruth's blog to see what was happening. There was no update. When we got home, the word was that Ruth was just hanging on. I don't know how to define the state she was in--not conscious. Sleeping. Is that coma?

Anyway, last Monday, after not eating or drinking for weeks and not being conscious, Ruth suddenly woke up and said, "What the hell am I still doing alive? I'm supposed to be dead by now!"

I looked at the person telling me the story. "No way did Ruth say 'hell'," I said. The story teller, who had heard this directly from Ruth's daughter, assured me that yes, Ruth did say hell. And at this, I laughed out loud because those of you who read Ruth's blog also know that Ruth is one of the most Godly women ever and to think of her swearing, well, that's just nuts.

Ruth spent time that day looking at the pictures Bob and Sarah had picked out for the memorial service. She didn't like a few that were chosen and tried to lobby against their use even though Sarah said, "I love those!" Ruth shrugged matter of factly and said, "I guess I won't be there anyway!"

And that was just Ruth. Truly, what an amazing woman and you will never convince me that she wasn't an angel sent here for those of us who needed her. Selfishly, I'll miss her, but it was her time and she was ready.

If you visit her blog today, you'll see that in huge capital letters, "RUTH IS WITH THE LORD!!!" It makes me smile and cry at the same time. I'm smiling for her, but crying for the rest of us.

I can't decide what I like to imagine her doing in heaven--running like the wind or shelving books.

Either way, it's something she loves.


Kristie said...

Natalie, I'm sorry you lost someone so special to your family and your community .... she sounds like a wonderful person, and I'm so happy she was there for Finn when he needed her.

Anonymous said...


I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. I know she was very special to you and your family, especially Finn.

Prayers and hugs,