Saturday, February 04, 2017

Terry Hill - October 16, 1956 to January 27, 2017

Terry in October of 1983
Our dear friend, Terry Hill, went home to be with the Lord on January 27, 2017.  This was such a surprise although maybe it shouldn't have been.  Last May she had experienced a double brain aneurysm and had apparently suffered these at home on a Monday afternoon or a Tuesday morning.  She had called in sick on Monday, but not Tuesday, and had not shown up to work.  Coworkers called the police, but due to lack of any probable cause for entering, they had declined to force entry to her condo .When she still hadn't come back to work on Thursday, her very concerned coworkers, this time called the fire department who fortunately thought they might have "heard" something and went in. They found her there and she was taken straight to emergency surgery at Harborview and then to a long recovery. When I first saw her she was quite unresponsive and struggling with what turned out to be pneumonia.  Back in the hospital and as part of that treatment she was given a tracheotomy so that the congestion in her lungs could be suctioned out easily, something she couldn't do with coughing on her own.  Slowly she began to recover and recognized relatives and friends and over time began to greet us with a "hi!" Eventually making amazing progress from such  a devastating event and complications. On October 16th a group of us friends celebrated her 60th birthday with her with cake and ice cream and presents.
To our delight, even with the tracheotomy, she could talk, eat cake and ice cream and even peanut butter pretzels of all things! She was quite coherent with a few little gaps here and there and could even remember and sing worship songs.
Terry has always been an adventurous and hardy soul and I thought throughout her ordeal that if anyone could overcome these challenges it would be her. A few weeks after her birthday she even had the trach removed and was able to eat and swallow, talk and breathe all on her own.  Her sister-in-law had said at the end of October that she would likely be moved to California "soon" because that is where her cousin, who had been appointed her guardian, lived.  Several of us began talking on the 27th of January of making another group trip down to Tacoma to see her.  When we contacted her sister-in-law to verify where she was so we could visit, we were informed that she had had another aneurysm on the 18th of January and had been moved to hospice.  She died the very day we were making these plans -- Friday, January 27th. 
Terry with our newly adopted twin daughters.
Back in the day, Terry and my husband and myself were all a part of a  sizeable group of young adults at Calvary Fellowship in the northern part of Seattle.  We attended service and Bible study classes and home fellowship groups together.  We also socialized with hikes, pot luck dinners, prayer sessions, trips to Denney's for coffee and spent time hanging out at Greenlake, Gasworks and Golden Garden's parks.  It was a lot of fun spending time together and the hours spent together slowly morphed into relationships, marriages, children and careers.  Terry and I were close friends for many years and stayed in touch for many more. We both worked for Continental Mortgage for several years -- she in loan processing and I at Thomas Escrow. 

In June of 1988 my husband had transferred to Ohio and our furniture had recently followed him, I stayed behind to finish working through July 1st. We were in process of adoption and to our delight we were "chosen" by our daughters' birth parents before we actually moved. Because my husband was off training for his new job, I called friend Terry and asked if she wanted to help me escort our new babies home!  Early Friday morning we got up, drove to Yakima and got to meet the adorable babies for the first time. Terry got to see the babies before their dad did!  It was such a fun trip, even more because rather than come back to Seattle, we drove from Yakima to Portland where my dad was having his huge retirement party after 16 years working for State Farm Insurance.  He and mom said that the babies were his "best present ever." 

Before we  had known we were going to be instant parents right before moving, Terry had already been planning to spend part of her vacation driving with me across country to Ohio and then she would fly back to Seattle after our road trip. Once we had the babies and had finalized the adoption (in case any of you were getting anxious about that) my folks offered to drive Terry and I and the girls from  Oregon to Ohio in the motor home and tow the car behind.  That sounded like a lot of fun and so we adjusted our plans!  Terry was always up for an adventure and off we all went.  It was quite the journey and included a fender-bender along the way, a side trip to Yellowstone and a racing a storm to the camp ground in Wyoming.  But we all survived and the rig remained drivable and so we did make it safely to Ohio. 
Terry at Yellowstone Park in July 1988.
A few months later we flew back to Portland for Christmas because, seriously, the grandparents had waited for years for grandkids and it only seemed fitting that they get to enjoy them.  We of course invited Terry down for Christmas too. The girls always loved it when "Aunt Terry" came around.

Terry in Portland, Christmas 1988
Terry was always very creative and crafty and made gifts to sell at craft fairs around the area.  Children of her friends benefited from all of Terry's largesse!  She made wonderful crib blankets for the twins during their first year and they got lots of use! 
Here the elder twin shows off Terry's handiwork -- the quilt (which has the recipient's name embroidered down the side), the cross-stitched bear and the "primitive doll" were all Terry's work.  The gifts came at different years.
 This is the quilt, cross stitched bear and the other primitive doll belonging to the other twin.  Years later we moved back from Ohio to Sequim, WA and Terry would occasionally make the ferry ride and drive to visit us there as well.  And we would sometimes pack up the group and come visit Terry on the east side of the Sound.
Terry and the twins at Hurricane Ridge when we lived in Sequim.  Note the quilted table cloth that Terry brought along.
One year Terry gave us a Christmas gift of twelve cross-stitched heart shaped ornaments.  These are some of my very favorite ornaments and they are all unique.  I took these photos just a month ago when we were taking down our tree decorations.  I wanted to show them to Terry to remind her of these ornaments if she had forgotten about making them. I wanted her to know how much we enjoy them every year. Little did I know that I would not have that opportunity. I can console myself with my best of intentions (and that, of course, always reminds me of my father's oft-quoted phrase "the road to hell is paved with good intentions!)"  I'm not finding that old adage very comforting! 
Later on I began quilting as well - inspired by Terry's example.  While my husband was in the Coast Guard stationed in Sequim, one of the ship captain wives taught those of us who were interested how to quilt.  I completely bought into hand quilting, but transitioned pretty easily to choosing machine piecing.  However, as far as I know, Terry remained very much the hand piecing and hand-quilting master!  Now I have been having difficulty finishing (because of wrist issues)  a 100 X 100 inch quilt that has as it's center a compass rose surrounded by a pattern known as "storm at sea."  While on vacation in Wisconsin last May, just days before I learned of Terry's aneurism, I had just had this "brilliant idea" to ask Terry to finish the hand-quilting for me (about a third of the quilt).  I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of that years ago and almost right away it was no longer an option.  Sigh.  Sadness.
 Tangen family from Hanlontown, Worth County, Iowa around 1900.
Our other great shared love is family history and genealogy.  We both have lots of extended family that lived in Worth County, Iowa a hundred or more years ago.  Since Worth County isn't THAT big and since we both have dozens of extended family, it seemed to both of us that we MUST have someone in common, some cute little couple that would have married and tied our two families together in some little corner of the County somewhere.  So far no success -- although our then-contemporary family members at least knew each other just as a part of daily life. 
Some of the Tangens and the Trustems from Worth County (those were in WI at the time)
My dear Terry-- I know that you have always had great trust in the Lord and I know that it was part of His will that this day has come.  He says in Isaiah 57 that "the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil." I know that you were living one day at a time for the past eight months, working your hardest to recover completely.  I didn't notice any particular complaining from you although there must have been things that bothered you a lot.  But now that is all past it must be a blessing to not be shackled with a body, but also a mind, that wasn't working so well any longer.  For myself, though, I am sad.  I have thought a lot over the past year about my myriad failings as a friend in general.  I think of thoughtlessness, busy-ness and inertia that resulted in not being as thoughtful and generous with time and resources over the years.  I think of other friends with whom I have mostly lost contact and connections over the years.  I can see my selfishness, my lack of thoughtful priorities and sometimes my lack of care. It's easy to make things all about me.  I'm glad that overall we didn't lose track of each other and I'm glad and kept our conversations going on Facebook.

I am glad I had and took several opportunities to visit you last year and wish I had made it at least one more time after the New Year. I promise not to forget you  and I will always remember the fun times we have had.  I'm going to keep looking for the family connection so we can be "cousins" as well as nearly lifelong friends.  I'll keep on praying for those things and people that I know are still important to you.

You've probably already met up with my folks who thought of you as a daughter.  They were likely eagerly waiting in line to greet you when they heard you were on your way home.  We've had several friends over the past decades that have passed on and you and they are all no doubt catching up on events of your lives and comparing notes on the ability of God to work all things together for good for those that love Him.  And maybe you and Tom have already met and are even now discussing what he meant when he told Jack  in wonder all those years ago, "We didn't know what color was!!!"

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, [Well, NOW you do] you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:6-9