Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Lost Another Lela

Lela Black Kohler
Lela Black Kohler, 92, passed away Saturday, June 14, 2008, peacefully in her sleep, in the comfort of her daughter's home in Katy, TX.

Back in late November, I lost a good writer friend/critique partner. Her name was Lela. Last week, I lost a dear reader friend/soul mate. Her name was Lela too. What made this Lela so dear to me was that we connected on several levels. Here are five things I loved about Lela Kohler:

1) She never said a mean thing about anyone. When my husband worked in Houston, Lela would ride with us, meet up with her daughter and they'd spend a week or two together. On our return trip, we'd usually stop at Cracker Barrel to eat. Lela would order some sweet concoction--Apple Dumplings, I believe. We'd talk about everything under the sun but especially the church we attend. Lela was a member for more than 50 years and I enjoyed hearing stories about friends we had in common. Lela never said a mean thing to me about anyone. Some people are just naturally nice. She was one of them.

2) Lela was a social butterfly. She'd go anywhere at the drop of a hat. I loved her spontaneity. I'd call and ask if she wanted to go to the book store and she'd say "Give me fifteen minutes to get ready." The older I get, the more spontaneity I lose. The fact that Lela loved to go to socials and parties and meetings and shopping irritated some. They felt a woman in her late 80s should stay home. Lela was a good example--for all of us. We grow old faster if we aren't social.

3) Lela was a reader. When we went to the book store, she browsed with pleasure. She walked the aisles, reading the titles of various books, caressing their spines. And when it was time to go, she'd take out a snip of paper with the title of a book she wanted. I liked that she actually bought something. I've never enjoyed 'window' shopping. If I can't buy a book, I don't want to be in the book store. I loved the way Lela appreciated and treasured books and writers.

4) Lela loved chocolate. When we'd go out to eat, I'd ask her if she wanted dessert. "Do you think I could get a chocolate bar to take home with me?" She explained how she liked to savor it in the privacy of her own home. I like that. I like that she was honest enough to say it.

5) Lela was a pack rat. My true soul sister. We had many serious discussions about saving things from newspapers and magazines. I was thrilled to know someone who understood exactly why I have trouble discarding things. Lela's house looked like mine. :)

And so I sit here today thinking about my friend Lela and visualizing her family going through her belongings and wondering why their mother kept such strange useless items. I wish they understood.

This scripture reminds me of Lela.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Lela Black Kohler
Born May 18, 1916 -- Died June 14, 2008

Lela went to sleep one night and woke up with Jesus. A fitting way for my sweet friend to leave this earth. God blessed her and I was blessed to be a part of her life.


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Oh Jess, you have my sympathy. What a blessing to have had such a beautiful spirit come into your life. What a great and kind friend you are to pay tribute her. May we all be so blessed as to have a friend like her and be a friend like you.

Erica Vetsch said...

Jess, I'm so sorry for your loss, but what a treasure trove of memories you have of your lovely Lela. She truly sowed seeds of kindness in your life.

The Voice said...

I hope you get a lot of comfort from the great memories you have a your friend and the fact that she was able to meet the Lord in such peace. I'll say a prayer for you and her family tonight.

Mary said...

My condolences - your tribute to Lela was very sweet and I feel an appreciation for her through your writings. I also like that you celebrate her passing with these memories - it lessens the loss. I think that mourning and loss are often because we have incomplete things between us and the person that passed. Sounds to me like you live life to the fullest in your appreciation of others! Beautiful post.

Stargazer said...

What a thoughtful and insightful gift to dear Lela. Wouldn't she be pleased...or perhaps I should say she must be pleased. You were blessed to know her for such a good length of time.

CE Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CE Taylor said...

Lela was Charley Taylor's (my dad) first cousin. To the best of my knowledge she was the second to last first cousin of the Black family still living at the time of her death. Mom and I were in Sullivan, IN (were Lela was born and raised) just a few days ago for a funeral and found out that Lela had passed away. We sad to find this out.

About 12-15 years ago Mom and Dad had all four of the surviving first cousins in for dinner. They had a wonderful time reminiscing about the old days and family long gone. It was a happy day for the cousins. This was the last time they were ever together as a group. Age, time and distance became too much to overcome to ejoy each others fellowship again. Many times my Dad and mom said how fortunate they were to get together one last time. Looking back, I see how sad that must have been too.

I am happy to see that Lela had friends that cared about her. That makes her a lucky person.