It took me so many times to write, re-write, and re-write this article. Somehow, I just could not find the right way to start it, and I could not seem to get my thoughts organized. Perhaps, it was because of that overwhelming emotion that I felt in my heart; of a realization that, without a speck of a hint, I had a very rare, once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend some valuable time with a special person.
I visited her, just one time, on the last week-end of June 2011. I went to see her in her “home”, as a visiting nurse; she, being my patient. Her “home” was a plush Retirement residential facility for seniors, where she has been living comfortably for over 15 years. She is a soft-spoken, good-natured 96 years old lady.
My one hour visit was just a routine nurse-patient interaction. She was sitting on her recliner chair while we talk. After a while, she slowly stood up, walked towards the restroom with the aid of her walker; saying “No. I’m OK”, when I offered my assistance. I was so amazed by her self-determination to do things for herself.
Aside from checking her vital signs, asking questions relevant to her current condition, and scribbling notes in my small writing pad, there was no significant event that happened (or so I thought) during my visit. As I assured her that her medicines for comfort are available and will be given to her routinely and as needed, I said goodbye. She waved goodbye, and with a broad smile on her face, called out “thank you”.
Two weeks after my visit, I learned that she passed on, to meet her creator. It was also during this time that I learned more about her, through on-line postings on her website.
Who was she?
What was so special about this lady?
She was Ruth Silnes, Author and Artist. At 96 years old, her mind was still clear, with an ever innate drive to keep on learning. She started to write and illustrated her first book: “Keeping Ahead Of Winter 4100 Nautical Miles Inside America” when she was 70 years old, and published it when she was 88 years old. Two other books came after: “Naptime Secrets” and “You And The Arts”.
I was awed as I learned so many more about this extraordinary lady. To me, she was a true legend. An epitome of a person with a great mind that never stopped learning, a heart that never stopped loving, and gifted hands that transformed something ordinary to extra special and beautiful.
Her remarkable life’s journey through the world of Arts and Writing will continue to live on, in the hearts of those whom she touched.
Thank You Ruth, for touching mine.
*Special thanks to Sandra Stone (Ruth’s daughter), for allowing me to post this article.