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Recently, I received many words. Too many to count. Why did I receive all these many beautiful words? The reason is a sad one.

COURTESY PHOTO  - This is a sampling of the cards and other words of comfort Mieke Weigman received after her husband died. They were a big comfort to her. Editor's note: West Linn Adult Community Center volunteer Mieke Weigman knows firsthand the power of comforting words.

This article covers many things yet its main message is all about words. Words we use every day; words we tell one another. Words we sometimes shout at one another.

Words matter so much. Words can heal, hurt, make us angry. Words can also make us cry.

Recently, I received many words. Too many to count. Why did I receive all these many beautiful words? The reason is a sad one. I recently lost my husband, quite a bit sooner and more unexpectedly than we had thought.

The outpouring from neighbors, friends and family, and many people from the WLACC was unbelievable.

I was also blessed to have the support of my husband's two brothers, who were here to help me through this difficult time. Then from my own family — all the way from Holland, a brother and two sisters. They took over my house, my life and everything else. They made sure that all business needing attention was done and executed and that I had a proper breakfast, lunch AND dinner. Talk about family pressure!

Going back to words, all words meant a lot to me. They brought courage and sympathy and made me feel much less alone.

I know that at the West Linn Adult Community Center there are many people like me; widows or widowers who have lost a spouse or loved one. And there, they have been able to find one another, do things together to enhance their lives. Community outreach becomes even more important when you find yourself alone.

My husband and I always enjoyed the many bus trips the center provides. And on those same trips I know there were many people who were "alone," yet they sat with friends, chatted away and enjoyed a sense of togetherness. Creating a feeling, of not being alone. Soon, I hope I may join you again, and find somebody to sit with me.

The center does more than just plan these trips. Its many classes keep us fit, happy and healthy.

Social events keep us from feeling lonely, plus creating the opportunity to make new friends to do things with.

And then of course, there are the many presentations which keep us informed and educated. I am very grateful to be part of the West Linn Adult Community Center.

Thank you to those who have reached out to me with those beautiful words and messages. I always knew words mattered, but even more so now.

I would like to end this with a beautiful tribute to my husband. It arrived on my doorstep in a plain envelope on a plain piece of paper. Yet, its message is so profound and deep ... and more than just words.

"I want to knock your door, but I am afraid, since I am afraid that I would wake up Mike.

During his sleep, he might have a light sleep.

I came back from a long trip with a letter received, but I hope I should ignore it.

Ignoring it, I know I will see Mike's smile again the very next sunset.

Closing my eye, Mike is popping up behind the fence saying hi with his branded elegant smile.

Opening my eye, I can still see Mike's silhouette along with that of his lovely dog walking on the sidewalk.

Years by, years by and we know we are great neighbors.

Years by, years by and I know Mike is on his long journey to eternity.

Just to say a temporary bye like seeing an old friend off at the airport.

I know the old friend will be back again like yesterday once more.

Once seeing him again, I will say I miss you much."

****

The WLACC is located at 1180 Rosemont Road, West Linn. Lunch is served at noon three days a week.

This week's menu features chicken fajitas, black beans, peppers and onions with pumpkin cookies Friday, Nov. 22; chicken parmesan, garlic buttered pasta, green beans and cream puffs Monday, Nov. 25 and lentil soup, ham sandwiches and vanilla bundt cake Wednesday, Nov. 27. Cost is $5 per person.

Mieke Weigman is a volunteer at the West Linn Adult Community Center.


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