“It is appointed unto man once to die…” Hebrews 9:27 KJV
It would appear that God had forgotten Addie’s appointment. No one expects to live one hundred years, let alone one hundred five.
For the most part, Addie’s life unfolded pretty much as expected. Born a few years after the turn of the century, Addie was welcomed by her parents and older sisters, Ephie and Orpha. Five years later little sister Sadie joined the lively group of girls growing up in western Kansas. Bachelor farmer Orville saved Addie from spinsterhood at the age of thirty. Two years later she gave birth to a son and spent the next three decades happily being wife and mother. As expected, her son went away to college, married and had sons of his own. Addie delighted in being a grandmother, doting on the little boys. She and her husband moved to town, her parents and older sisters aged and died; life was pretty much on schedule. Then suddenly, at the age of sixty-six, Addie was widowed.
Now although this was not as planned, Addie adjusted and lived into her eighties with great gusto. She kept busy teaching Sunday school, babysitting, gardening, sewing, and traveling. She had a few aches and pains, but seemed to defy all the life shortening ailments common to mankind. Glaucoma started to rob Addie of her eyesight requiring thick glasses, but she continued to stay cheerfully busy with life.
Somewhere in her nineties (admitting increased blindness) she gave up living alone and moved in with her younger sister, Sadie. The sisters kept each other company and kept their minds sharp by playing games, listening to books on tape and quoting scripture. The plan was for Sadie to take care of Addie. Both girls (as they liked to call themselves) looked forward to Addie’s one hundredth birthday celebration. The only problem was, Sadie had the nerve to die just before Addie’s birthday.
Addie mourned Sadie’s death deeply; almost more than she had mourned the death of Orville. Sadie was supposed to be there to take care of her. Sadie was supposed to bury Addie, not the other way around. Addie quietly celebrated her one hundredth birthday with her son and grandsons and moved into a nursing home. Now, maybe it would be her time to die.
Only she didn’t. Tiny and feisty, Addie just kept living and living. The summer of her 101st year she attended communion services at church one last time and never left the nursing home again. She cheerfully became part of the nursing home community, although increasing blindness and deafness narrowed her world, making it harder and harder to sense reality.
Addie was a bit proud of her longevity, but as the years kept adding up, she did long for heaven. She never expressed a feeling of being forgotten, but one day when she was 105 she asked about her sister Sadie.
“Where is Sadie?” she asked the nurse in her loud voice.
“Sadie is not here.” The nurse shouted in Addie’s ear.
“Well, where is she?’ Addie asked.
“Remember, Addie, Sadie died. She went to heaven.”
“Well, for pity’s sake,” Addie exclaimed. “Why didn’t she take me with her!”
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