I didn’t realize how long it has been since I last wrote about my friend Addy. I swear I thought I’d written again since February’s post! Anyways, I’ve been to see her many times since my last story, but my visits have been much shorter than usual.

Guys, Addy isn’t doing so great. I never knew much about Multiple Sclerosis, but I can now tell you that it’s a horrible, horrible disease. It has effected her sight, thinking, and physical abilities.

I was supposed to visit my friend last Monday, but when I called to let her know I was on the way her son answered the phone, letting me know that Addy was not doing well, and that they were headed to the doctor. I kept in touch, and was able to visit two days later.

When I got to the house, the kids eagerly ran out to meet me in the driveway, like usual, but Addy wasn’t in the doorway smiling. I made my way inside, Jada and her little friend ran to the swingset to play, and Titus found some toy trucks to spread out on the living room floor.  The oldest daughter (12 yrs) went back into Addy’s room, and was in there for quite some time. I just sat on the sofa chair, looking around at all of the things they had there. The many bookshelves were crammed full of books- Bible books, cook books, gardening and herbal books, soap making books, and encyclopedias. There were shelves lined with mason jars full of goodies. I noticed a dozen or so oil lamps around the room. Many antiques were also spotted here and there.

After about 15 minutes or so, I heard Addy’s bedroom door open. Her daughter came out walking backwards through the kitchen toward the living room, holding Addy’s hands and guiding her to the couch. Addy slowly followed along, taking very small steps, and didn’t seem to be able to see anything at all. Her hair was wet, like she’d just showered. As she was helped to her seat, and gently eased down, she smiled in my general direction when I gave a cheerful “Hi!”, but her eyes were unfocused. Her daughter went to get Addy’s glasses, so that she was able to see a bit better.

I just sat quietly as they went through their routine. Once Addy was settled into the corner of the couch, her daughter got a glass of milk and some pills and made sure her mother had taken them. It was obvious that it was very difficult for Addy to hold that cup, and to get it to her mouth. She tried to brush her own hair, but soon had to give in and allow her daughter to do it for her.

I asked her how she was feeling, and she smiled and said that she was fine.

My visits this year have been extremely different from last year’s visits. I’m afraid the lesions on my friend’s brain have taken their toll. She isn’t able to think of much to say anymore. Conversation is somewhat awkward, as I try my best to keep it going by myself. I sit and tell her all of the things I’ve been learning to do, and the crazy and funny things that have happened on our little homestead, and she sits there nodding and smiling, looking like she is just about to say something, but she isn’t able to get it out. She doesn’t say much of anything at all, just sits and smiles.

I try to bring things to show her, to help encourage conversation. This time I brought some foraging materials I just got, that tell you which wild plants are edible or medicinal. She seemed very interested, her daughter was as well. They took the cards I showed them, and her daughter flipped through naming which plants she recognized and read a little about them out loud. I asked Addy if she’d ever heard of a Soapberry tree , and she hadn’t, so I told her how the nuts from the tree make soap, and how I’d love to have one one day. Her expression told me that she’d love to have one as well.

Addy asked me if I’ve done any canning, and I proudly shared all that I’ve accomplished so far. I had brought her a jar of my bread and butter pickles, but before handing them over I asked if she liked them. Her daughter told me that none of them really liked them, so I kept the jar tucked in my diaper bag, and didn’t offer it.

Her young son came in from outdoors, with a fresh plum in his hand. He brought one in for me as well. Addy suggested that I save the seed to grow my own plum tree, which I quickly agreed was a great idea!

We sat for about an hour. Most of the conversation was between me and her daughter, though I tried to direct most of what I said towards Addy so as not to make her feel left out. Normally we would have been walking around outside, doing chores or observing nature, but this time she did not move from her spot. Her muscles are too weak now.

Before I left, I leaned down to where she was sitting and gave her a big hug, promising to come again soon.

I am so incredibly thankful for the short time that I knew her before this disease took  a good hold on her. I don’t know if she will ever realize how completely she changed the course of my life, and my family’s life. Everything that I am learning to do now is a direct result of her inspiration. I don’t know if she will ever get better, or how bad it will get in the years to come, but I will never stop visiting with her. She will always be my mentor, my inspiration, my model of what a mother and wife should be.

Sadly, this is probably the last of my Butterberry Farm series. If you’d like an occasional update, just shoot me an email. Otherwise, I’m afraid there isn’t much more to write. I know Addy wouldn’t want me going on and on about how pitiful she is at every visit. Pray for her. If the Lord sees fit to take this affliction from her, and things miraculously improve, I will be the first to praise Him publicly for it.

Thank you all for following along with me and my friend! I know she has been an encouragement to many of you as well.