In Memoriam

Helen Roush went to be with the Lord a year ago November 15, 2012.  This essay was written by Brianna Bowers (Morris) In memoriam to Helen.  Jim Roush provided a couple of his favorite pictures of Helen for the story.

The Gift

Helen Roush

Helen Roush 1936 -2012

Mrs. Roush was a woman who went to my church. When my family had first come to the church, we heard that she was sick, and though she greatly enjoyed visitors, she seldom got many. So we decided to pay her one, and that is where our friendship began. Mrs. Roush was not just any old woman; she had a very mischievous spirit and a very sharp mind. She hated to be condescended to. We found this out on one of our visits when we struck up a conversation about her dog Fluffy. She was teasing about how smart Fluffy was and all the tricks he could do. However, when she realized that we didn’t know she was joking, she said, “In fact, Fluffy is so smart, I taught him to dial 911”. After a confused pause, my mom and I started busting out laughing!

Now that same woman was laying in a bedroom that she would never leave, in the very last stages of lung cancer. I walked into her room and noticed the warmth her family had dressed it with. Christmas decorations were placed throughout the room, mixed with family photos; however, the bright orange “Do Not Resuscitate” paper on the wall stood out glaringly, juxtaposing cold and cruel, against the rest. Mrs. Roush laid on the bed, frail and eyes closed. I almost turned around to leave, but her eyes opened at the sound of my mom and me.

“Banana,” she called me, as she often did. “Are you going to play me a song?” she said looking at the guitar on my back.

“I can,” I answered.

"...Fluffy is so smart, I taught him to dial 911”

“…Fluffy is so smart, I taught him to dial 911”

She found it difficult to stay awake, but she struggled to keep her eyes open and to listen. I was at a loss; I hadn’t even prepared, not knowing I was visiting until that day. I wondered what in the world to play! My mom told me to play something peaceful, so I started singing some of the most quiet and relaxing songs I knew. I wished, as I sang, that I had the right songs, songs with words of comfort and truth. Instead, I played the Fleetwood’s “Mr. Blue”, whose title held a sick sort of irony.

As we left, I tried not to cry, carefully hugging my delicate and beloved friend, promising to come and see her again the next day. Then we drove home.

Within the next 12 hours, Mrs. Roush went to be with the Lord. She passed away in the morning time, around 3 or 4 am. When I found out, I cried, but not for her. I knew that she was enjoying much better things; I was crying for the separation I was feeling of two dear friends.

When we went to visit Mrs. Roushs’ family, they sat in the living room talking. Brenda, her daughter, recalled the last night with a smile.

“Well, I remember visiting her that night, and she said, “Brenda, do you know what? I was serenaded today. Isn’t that wonderful?” That was the best part of her day. She just kept talking about it.”

I will never forget Mrs. Roush, and I will never forget the gift she gave me in singing for her. Through that day I see that sometimes we cannot see the way our gifts will be used; sometimes they won’t be in the way that we envision. But we have them for a reason and when it is time to use them, it might come as a beautiful surprise.

This essay was written by Brianna Bowers (Morris).