Death always seems to come suddenly, even when you know it is the expected outcome of a terminal illness.
This morning we are shocked to hear of the death of a dear friend, whose mortal life has ended. She had suffered for a long time, and her family along with her. But in every aspect of her illness, she met the setbacks with simple courage, grace and wisdom.
I didn’t see her that often but when we met, she never complained, just kept right on living her life to the fullest, tackling the next creative project with vigour.
She will be sorely missed by her family, her husband of forty-five years, her daughters, son-in-laws and her grandchildren. Then there are her surviving siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and her ever expanding circle of friends.
So at some point in the next few days we will all meet to say our last goodbyes, we’ll listen to eulogies from family and friends, shed tears for our loss and catch up with those we haven’t seen for years. It will be quite a contrast to the funeral we attended last week for the ninety year old father of friends. Then we celebrated a life well lived with goals achieved and a simple sadness that we will not see him anymore.
The next funeral we go to will have sadness, raw grief for a life cut short. A life that still had much to accomplish, as that was her way — to take on more new challenges conquering them before moving on to the next.
So we grieve — those of us left behind, but I’d like to remember — with love, gratitude and thanks for having known her.
And I’d like to imagine that I will have at least a fraction of the courage she showed when faced with death.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal. — From an old Irish headstone. R.I.P Louise.