Good bye dear Sister Schlünz! I had just written about her in my last blog post about "Going home" and indeed she passed away peacefully early this morning at the nursing home. She experienced no pain as she had been promised and at last is reunited with her dear husband who she has lived without now for 19 years. She was 93 years old and very ready to go home.
How does one get so close to somebody they have only known for 7 months and do not speak the same language? That is the blessing of serving a mission...we have the time to visit regularly and can be available at a moment's notice. She welcomed us into her apartment where she had lived for 60 years when we first arrived here. I was so impressed by her friendly, open nature and loved her laugh and her twinkling eyes.
A few months later when it became necessary to go into the nursing home, she did so without complaint, knowing this was the next step and she would be taken care of. She would always say that Christ was with her to comfort her. She had a roommate and was on a waiting list for her own room but again, never complained. We visited her every Sunday, and she would pat the bed and have me sit there while Gentz sat in a chair and did all of the talking and she would pat my hand and smile and I just continued to love her more and more with each visit.
Finally she got her own room and was so happy to welcome visitors to her little table with water and fruit, once again being able to play the host. Germans are so hospitable!
Then she fell and broke her elbow, having to go into the hospital for a couple of weeks before she could return to her little room. Upon her return, it was obvious that she did not have long to live, and so our weekly visits turned into daily visits. What a gift that was to be with her even more and see how gracefully and peacefully she was accepting these next steps at the end of her life.
We were certainly not the only ones to visit her as she had so many friends and those who loved her from our small branch (congregation). They had been with her for years..she was like their "Oma" (grandma). She had served faithfully in various callings in the church.
On one of our last visits, Gentz asked if she would like for him to read her a scripture and she asked for Alma 37:37 from the Book of Mormon: "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." What a perfect scripture for her and how well she lived that!
She was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 1947 to 1949. It was a very difficult time for all Germans especially in East Germany where she lived and served. Nonetheless, she faithfully served and rode her bicycle everywhere, depending on the goodness of other members the church to feed her. As she said, she often went hungry as nobody had any money after the war.
And so, we say farewell to a dear soul who certainly left our lives and the world just a little brighter because of her sweet, gentle spirit. She was unassuming, not wanting a fuss to be made over her, just to be quietly buried next to her beloved husband in the beautiful wooded cemetery near the nursing home. Thank you Sister Schlünz, for loving me even though I could not speak German. For loving so many people in your quiet, mild manner. As we left her room yesterday evening, I kissed her forehead as I always did and said, "Ich liebe dich Sister Schlünz" and the last phrase we heard her say, was to reply: "I love you" in a sweetly accented English and a smile.
I look forward to hearing that throaty laugh and seeing those twinkling eyes someday when I cross through the veil to the other side where all languages will be the same. And I hope I can be just like you as I bid farewell to this life. Auf Wiedersehen, dear dear Sister Christa Schlünz! What a glorious resurrection awaits you!