My time with my parents yesterday was more open than it has been in the past. I took the opportunity to ask about some of my jw friends and how they were doing. I was told of the deaths of two of the older members of the group. I felt somewhat detached from the grief. One of the ladies was the woman who "studied with" my mother, meaning she was the jw who originally called at my mother's door and took her through the jw indoctrination process. She was never my favourite person to say the least. Aside from being the catalyst for my mom converting to the jw's when I was five, this woman was malicious and spiteful and had a very biting tongue.
What did affect me deeply was learning that my all-time favourite "elder" from my old congregation is not doing well. I worry for him. As he worries for others. He and I are similar souls. We could talk about anything freely. He was my sounding board and my mentor and a surrogate father in many ways. I'm sure it broke his heart when I left the jw's. I was like a daughter to him.
I have recently been having fond memories of the time I spent as a jw proselytizer. As grueling as it was, I enjoyed being out with my fellow "brothers and sisters" doing a work that I firmly believed had God's approval---a "life-saving work" no less. We would usually go out in car groups of four and if I was lucky I'd get to travel with this older "brother" in his car group. Once we reached the assigned territory of homes or apartments, we'd split off into pairs to go and "witness" to the public. I loved being paired with this elder because we always had such great conversations in between doors. We could talk about anything. Often we'd end up in tears as we discussed life and love and faith. Despite our age difference we were kindred spirits.
I remember the day we spent in the ministry and we had some time to kill before the next meet-up group. So we did McDonald’s drive-thru and we each had Filet-o-Fish sandwiches. I still think of him every time I eat one. There are some memories that will be forever bittersweet for me.
I remember accompanying him to the hospital once while he had some tests done. He seemed really unused to having someone care for him. I think his heart never quite mended after his wife left him. As a jw, he could not remarry and I think all that love he had to give was slowly eating away at him. Perhaps it still is.
I miss this man. Some days I miss him terribly. I’m tempted sometimes to write him a letter telling him how much I love and miss him. But I’m afraid it will just break his heart more, since he will not be able to respond. Or maybe I’m just afraid of the rejection I will face in receiving no reply.
The grief is heavy tonight.