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Meet Cindy, an Angel for the Elderly

Legacy Files 

August 10, 2010

In Memory of My Friend Cindy: One of Michael’s Angels

By: Gina Odell (GinaA)
Tribute Team Assistant

My friend Cindy Elliott-Park passed away on July 27, 2010, at age 55.  Cindy wasn’t well known.  She wasn’t rich.  But she had a huge heart that opened itself to help in her own special ways.  I have been thinking over the past weeks since her death that I wanted to honor her publicly in some way.  I think Cindy was an angel on Earth in so many ways that can be wonderful examples of what kinds of service we can do in spite of any life challenges.

Shortly after we first met, Cindy told me that she contracted a viral infection that damaged her endocrine system at aged two and she was left with type 1 diabetes as well as other endocrine malfunctions. This condition was not discovered until she was 17 years old and had lived for years with various health issues. She took great care of herself and was one of the most positive people I ever met. She was her own best health advocate within the healthcare system. Her response to any challenge was always to work on finding a solution.

In spite of her fixed income and health issues, she was always upbeat and doing for others. The arts and craft-making were what she loved, especially quilting. Cindy often made and donated quilts for fundraisers. Her biggest project was six twin bed quilts made for a respite house for parents with disabled children. The house takes kids for a day or an overnight to give the caretakers some personal time.  My husband helped her deliver the quilts, and boy, were the people who ran the facility surprised!

She helped me make a large quilt for an elderly friend of my husband’s who lost everything in an apartment fire. Without Cindy for inspiration and patient guidance, I don’t think I could have finished.  She was always ready to teach what she knew and she never sent anyone a bill for her services.

Cindy had an immense love and caring for the elders of our society.  She was always visiting and helping out one or another. Even just sitting to chat and have a cup of tea.

I think that of anything in the world, she most loved Christmas.  She planned next year’s gifts starting the day after each Christmas! Each person’s gift was made with that “special Cindy” thoughtfulness and attention.

In fact, time was a lot of what Cindy gave. There was no extra money involved, just taking the time to connect with someone who needed to be cheered up; inviting someone who needed a ride to go on errands with her; calling to see how the latest project was going and if the person needed any help. We would check in with each other almost every night at the same time, even if just for a few minutes.

There are so many things. When I have had moments of feeling so low since her passing, I think of her "we can do this" attitude. The memorial card I was given at her services has a poem on the back.  One of the lines is "A golden heart stopped beating." Now her heart has its wings.

Cindy was truly one of "Michael's Angels" here on earth.  She is surely one of his angels in heaven, no doubt giving out orders to everyone else (like she did to me!).  If you wonder what you can do if you don’t have a lot of money, remember Cindy’s humble example. Little kindnesses and giving of yourself every day add up. You don't need to be financially rich, just rich in spirit with a kind heart.

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