Yesterday morning we got some sad news, our landlady, Lucy, had passed away. She had been struggling with health issues for quite some time and her body finally gave out. We didn't know her well but have a few fond memories of our times with Lucy.
Lucy and her husband live(d) in Nome, and each time we were there, we made sure to stop by for a little visit. These meetings became a lot more fun for all of us when our son, Harold, came along. Lucy took a liking to Harold right away. She was happy to have him living in her house. She gave him hugs and kisses, a toy juke box for a Christmas present and his Eskimo name, a most special gift.
(Sorry Lucy, I know you told us the spelling over and over and I'm sure we still have it wrong. I'm guessing we don't say it quite right either, but we'll keep trying.)
Visiting Lucy could be very entertaining. At a visit, about a year ago, Lucy was telling us about some of the medical troubles she was having. As she went on in more detail about a minor surgery she had had that involved her inner thigh, she stood up, loosened her pants' waist . . . oh no, she's not going to . . . yes she did, she dropped her pants and pointed out the exact place the doctors had operated on. How can a person forget that?
She also had some great stories to tell. One that sticks in my mind was the first time she cheated death. Lucy and her brother were ice skating in Nome when Lucy fell through the ice. She came to the surface once, and sank back down. She struggled and came up a second time. At this point, hypothermia must have been setting in because she started to feel warm and comfortable. The third time she went under, she remembers thinking how nice it was and she stopped struggling. Her brother was at the edge of the ice at this point and plunged his arm into the water and took a swipe with his hand in hopes of grabbing Lucy. All he was able to reach was her hair. And it was by her hair that he pulled her out the water.
Though I don't remember the details, a more recent brush with death happened when Lucy arrived at the hospital and had to be recessitated. "I was dead and they brought me back," she said. "It wasn't the first time I nearly died." It was after this that she share the ice skating story with us.
But this time, she was unable to cheat death.
So, good-bye Lucy. We wish little Kusugluk could have known you but we will tell him about the lady who gave him his Inupiaq name. We will hold our few memories dear and think of you fondly. May you rest safely in the arms of Jesus.