Monday, May 04, 2009

My friend Euri

I can still hear her cheery voice right now, as she answers the corded phone in her living room, Heyther B------! Her thick Spanish accent pronouncing my first and last name as if it were one. We do that with certain people we know really well as if you can't stop yourself at just their first name. Euri's loud proclamation of my name always made me feel like I had just been announced at the royal court. And the warmth of her friendship made me feel like a close family member. But that's the way Euri made everyone feel.
She and her husband, Heriberto, left their Venezuelan homeland over four years ago to settle permanently in Canada after they were increasingly concerned due to the policies and practices of the government which were going to be interfering with their desires for the raising of their two children. Ontario became the place to start over.
And starting over it was. They left behind a large roomy house in a warm climate where homeschooling their children in a sunny part of the home was a joy for Euri. She often admired the view throughout the day especially the large yagrumo tree outside the schoolroom window. Her fledgling blog started in August 2007 was named for this very view. But by mid-November of that year God was calling her to a yet a different path. She suffered her first seizure which led to the discovery of a large brain tumor. Surgery was scheduled and completed in early December followed by intense rounds of chemo and radiation through the Spring of 2008. As the seizures persisted and the tumor showed little signs of being eradicated, it became more evident that the Lord was not going to heal her in the way we were praying.
Her children, a son and a daughter, were enrolled in the local Christian school for the 2008-2009 school year, but Euri continued to monitor their schoolwork, even from her bed. Visiting Euri was such an encouragement as she smiled and made little jokes even as her body grew weak. In mid-January of this year, Euri was moved from her hospital bed at home to a hospice room in the city. It was so hard to see her lying frail in the bed unable to even change position. I have already written about our last visit with Euri but it is the memories of our time together before that I smile and fondly remember.
Euri trying to convince me to get more nutrition in my diet by eating canned sardines. I kept the can she gave me for two weeks before I threw out, confessing to her that I just couldn't bring myself to eat even one.
Euri serving tea with dried herbs floating in the top to my husband Shane upon hearing of his cold. I knew there was no way he would be drinking that after the first few polite sips.
Euri baking me fresh bread and bringing it to church wrapped in a clean white linen cloth.
Walking along the river beach together with our kids and my mother, spreading a picnic lunch out and enjoying the days of sunshine, health and friendship.
Picking apples together and getting lost in the corn maze while we meandered from path to path not too concerned about finding the shortest route.
Euri baking our son's fourth birthday cake complete with Lightning McQueen in colorful homemade fondant. (She had baked and decorated wedding cakes when they still lived in Venezuela and I had seen the photos of her work.) Convincing her to take my money for all her work and ingredients was difficult but I prevailed upon her servant heart by warning her I would not ask her again if she refused my grateful payment. Reluctantly she agreed.
Euri telling us wild tales of various adventures in Venezuela from being approached by potential muggers looking to trick her into giving them large sums of money to scary taxi drivers running up the fares. Euri was not the type of person to be messed around with. She was strong, brave and outspoken if she thought that someone was posing a danger to her or her family.
Her stories were told with much animation and always with an eye for God's protection and providence in their life. We marveled and laughed at her perspective on life. Much hand motions and actions always helped Euri convey the most vital parts of the story. I could sit and let her talk for hours.
When she returned in early 2007 from a six-week trip to visit her mother and father in Venezuela, we were treated to a slideshow detailing her parent's home and gardens. Her mother had designed and created the most amazing landscape and play structures for her grandchildren that I have ever seen on someone's personal property. The lush vegetation and summery climate made me wonder how they could have left this all behind for Canada. Yet at the same time I was thrilled to be part of this amazing woman's life.The friendship that I shared with Euri and our mutual friend Norma was so sweet and unique. I felt like I was the younger sister to these two Latin mamas. Never a harsh or ungracious word about each other's parenting techniques or approaches. Just love for like-minded companions who had been brought together for a limited time and place. I am so thankful for my time with Euri and although at times I have felt sorry for myself for having lost such a valued friend, I am confident that she is thrilling the Lord with her presence in heaven. We love you Euri and we will continue to love your family.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Enjoyed this tribute of Euri very much...thank you!



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