This past Thursday I got a phone call from someone who I thought was my friend, Rose, because it was her name which popped up on my phone when it rang. Instead, it was her daughter calling to inform me that Rose had passed away the night before. I could hardly believe it! She had been sick for a couple of months but I had just taken her to the hospital about 2 1/2 weeks earlier. She was diagnosed with TB and started taking her medicine. I called her just last Thursday to check on her and she said she was feeling better, so to receive that phone call just a week later I was very surprised.
Rose and I have been working together for several years visiting patients in Ng'ombe compound. If patients were really sick we would give them a BGR(Baptist Global Response) bucket with items inside which would make their last days more comfortable. Just about every week Rose would call me and say "I have another patient for us to go and visit." As we would go together these patients were oftentimes quite far from her home but still in the same compound. When I asked her how she heard about that patient she said, "Oh, a family member came to get me so I could help." She was known throughout the compound as a woman who helped others in need.
Even though she also was HIV positive she still did her best to go out and help others in the same condition. Some days she did not feel well but she continued to go out.
Friday, I was able to go to her home where the family gathered. The women sat inside her one room and the men sat outside under a small tent. I went inside with the women and greeted each one. We cried together. I shared with them what a great friend she was to me and how much of an impact she had in her community. I prayed for everyone and then left saddened by the fact that she was really gone.
Then yesterday I went to her funeral service and burial. I was asked to share but was worried I would blubber through the whole thing but by God's grace I didn't. The service was a beautiful celebration of this godly woman. Rose was 53 years old and leaves behind 8 children and many grandchildren. She took care of her mother as well. Please pray for her family as they work out who will take care of those Rose left behind. She will be greatly missed in this compound! She will be greatly missed by me too!