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Gloria Hurtgen: The Wounded Fairy


When I first saw Gloria a little over a year ago I saw a wounded fairy: a small, petite older woman who had all the signs of having lived a hard life, yet still loving others abundantly. Hardship had not handicapped her kind and generous spirit.

Though she had a trachea, her smile radiated warmness and that's all one could see or hear. Her last name only further validated my initial perception of her Gloria Hurtgen ... Though I'm not sure of the actual meaning of Hurtgen, it reminded me of the fairy-like creatures in Brandon Sanderson's "Stormlight Archive" called spren. Or of a precious gem, which Gloria certainly was. Though hurt or wounded, her spirit was still very much that of a spren or gem.

Gloria had heard my dad had been badly hurt in a car accident, and though we did not know who she was and had never met before, she came to our house to give and help us. Shortly after I begin to clean for her.

Whenever I came to clean, Gloria always asked how my Dad was doing. She always wore the biggest smile and asked how I was doing, and how my writing was. I'd ask her how she was and she always mentioned God and how things were good because of Him. Then while I cleaned, she would watch the news.

From those first few times cleaning my perception of her deepened. Not only was she a wounded fairy, refusing to let her light dim, but she was also a woman that truly cared about everyone around her, both locally and politically. She actually wanted to know how my Dad's therapy was going, she sincerely cared about my dreams though she hardly knew me, and politics didn't seem to drain or stress her because she actually cared about what was happening and wanted to know and care more.

She did not seem like the sort of person that was content with staying in her own little hurting world but wanted to scatter her fairy dust into everyone else's lives, too. And not because she had a lot to give, but because she cared enough to love.

After cleaning for her for a couple months she told me that she had cancer.

I didn't know how to respond. I couldn't say, "I'm sorry." Because that sounded so shallow. But ... I couldn't think of anything else to say, either. She never gave me a chance to say anything though but said she really appreciated my help with cleaning, because of her waning strength with all her chemo.

After that, I always asked how that was going for her, too. Sometimes it was clearly hard for her, but she always had a brave, hopeful attitude.

And then one day, she told me they could no longer do chemo.
She was sent home on hospice.

She grew weaker, but her smile always stayed the same, her questions about others never ended, the news always remained on while I cleaned. She told me many times during those last couple weeks, "We know where we'll meet someday again. Soon." 

One day Gloria gave me an envelope. "There is enough in there until after I die," she said. Enough for two months.

I think that's when it hit me that she was actually dying. Before that? I'm pretty sure I'd pushed it out of my mind that this wasn't real. How could it be? She'd be healed, or have more time than the doctors thought, or something. Death is just so unreal. Especially when you think of someone like Gloria who added so much to everyone and everything around her.

I didn't want to accept the envelope. But I did.
I hate showing my emotions, but I had a hard time keeping my tears back.

I am not a very touchy person; it's really hard for me to show affection. But I felt a strong nudge from God to hug Gloria before I left that day. I fought my natural instincts to just leave and pretend I'd see her again. I didn't want to hug her goodbye. Yet, something told me that could be the last time I ever saw her and I'd always regret not hugging her.

I'm so glad I found the nerve to hug Gloria that day because it was the last time I saw her. She didn't make it the two months but died a short while later on April 11, 2019, aged seventy-three.

I know she had great pain those last few days, but everyone that knew her said that her caring spirit never faltered. The last time I saw her she was still asking after my family, still watching the news, still smiling, still saying, "Even if we don't see each other again in this life, we know where we'll see each other again."

She didn't need to talk about her pain; she only wanted to help others.

Gloria did not lead a perfect life. She had many hardships. But in her last days, she was a huge inspiration to me in such a way that I feel should convict all of us that claim to love and follow God.

Gloria turned everything back to Him. 
Gloria seemed to truly understand Yeshua's commandment to love others as ourselves.
Gloria showed, not only in her words but in her actions and the way she carried herself that she knew peace and love, and shared of that peace and love freely.

Sometimes, when life throws bitter betrayals at me, I want to give up and stop loving, stop caring, stop helping. But I don't know if I can ever do that now. Sometimes the troubles of the world are overwhelming and depressing and I want to pretend none of them exist by closing myself off to all of it and hiding in my own little box. But how can I now give in to the stress and pressure of evil when I've seen how much stronger and beautiful good is?

Gloria never stopped caring about anyone until the very end.
I think we all should take this as a personal challenge to keep on caring forever.

Note: A huge thanks to Carmen Smith (long time friend of Gloria's) for meeting with me and making this post possible!

Comments

  1. Wow. So, so beautiful. Amazing post, Keturah. She really does seem like a light and role model. <3

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! I'm so glad you think so :)

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  2. That is the kind of woman I want to be. I'm glad you could be a part of her life, and her a part of yours, even if only for a short time.

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    1. Me, too! I think you're already FAR onto the right track though ;)

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  3. Wow what an amazing story! I'm so glad you shared this. :) She sounds like she was such an inspiration!

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  4. Heeyy!! You've made some updates since I last popped in here. The butterfly banner is super cute <3

    She sounds like the kind of woman you would really love to be around.

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    1. Hey!! Long time no see for both of us *goes over to your blog real quick, too*. Thanks! I'm always trying to improve the look. I think I'm /almost/ happy with where my blog is at. But yeah, I LOVE my banner.

      Yes, she was. Now to just become the same sort of woman .... ;)

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  5. Sweet story, a very good example of Yahweh' s love!

    astorydetective.blogspot.com

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    1. So true! And can be an inspiration to us to continue being better examples ourselves :)

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  6. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may the perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

    This is so beautiful, Keturah. I've known some wounded fairies myself, and they really are the most amazing people--no matter what tears are hiding behind their eyes, they look at the person in front of them and smile. All of us suffer, but how we love in the midst of suffering--you're so, so right about how beautiful and crucial it is! Thank you for this.

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    1. That's such a sweet prayer!

      It is so crucial! But now that I'm thinking about it, it should also encourage us to reach back toward those people that are smiling at us and invite them to shed their tears. I think that'd be the best way to share in all the suffering and love ;)

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  7. Aww, what a touching post, Keturah! She sounded like a beautiful soul. <3

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  8. She sounds like such an amazing woman. Beautifully inspirational post :)

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  9. Wow, she sounds like an amazing person! What a beautiful tribute to her.

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

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    1. She was! I'm glad you think so, Emily :) Thanks for reading.

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  10. This is beautiful. I'm so glad God brings people like this into our lives....yours...and mine, now that I've read this post. Sometimes you don't really appreciate people until you realize that you're going to loose them.

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    1. Thank you! You are so right. It's so unreal to think that someone might not be in our lives forever. But this has made me think a lot about death and if I'm living my life in such a way that is prepared for death by living fully now. Some deep thoughts ;p

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  11. Wow Gloria sounds like she was a truly beautiful person. God knew what He was doing when He put you in her life and vice versa. You could both be an encouragement to each other and He knew that.

    www.melodypersonetteauthor.blogspot.com

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    1. That's so true ... I think that's true of every person in our lives, and it's a good thing to remember ;)

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  12. This was a beautiful tribute Keturah. God knew what he was doing when he placed you both in each others lives :)

    Lia

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  13. After reading this, all I could think was that I want to be a Gloria at the end of my life. She sounds like such a blessing, and my heart goes out to you. Her passing must be a bittersweet moment for you, and I sympathize! Thank you for sharing something so beautifully personal.

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    1. That's all I could think of as writing it, too! I'm so glad you got that message ;) Thank you for your kind words, and for reading.

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  14. I love people like that, when you can feel God's love through them.
    She sounds like she was magical. <3

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    1. Yes, it's a breath of fresh air ... magical, as you say :) I just wish more Christians had a better grasp of what it means to spread God's light and love. Then this world would really have a chance.

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  15. Sorry for the loss of this kind soul. She sounded like a truly wonderful person.

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