This Sunday, I say good-bye to a dear friend whose too-short life is being celebrated at a memorial service. She lived up the street from me and though our children attended different schools, we became instant friends in our exercise class. I loved her sense of humor, her quiet but unshakeable convictions, and her grit, which was evident in our workouts but grew to gargantuan levels in her short but intense fight with that evil of all evils, cancer.
When I launched my shop, my first order came from her. She placed it from her hospital bed. Not just because she loved the plates I was selling, but because she loved me. She believed in my idea. And for that, there are no words.
In the spring, which arrived this year at a snail’s pace, my friend began a slow improvement. Anticipating her homecoming, a bunch of us gathered at her house to clean up the yard and the house. She asked me to hang her plates.
It was a hopeful day and her sister and I went from room to room, holding up the plates and texting pics to the hospital. We settled on the front foyer and truly, the collage looked charming and lovely. Each plate depicts frolicking Norwegian youths celebrating Midsommer, the annual festival in late June that takes place during the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
My friend never got to see the plates in her foyer. A virus attacked and she was gone. Her life was like a summer in Norway, bright and beautiful and fleeting.
She leaves behind a husband who loved her heart and soul and three children who will always bear witness to her courage and fighting spirit. As a teacher, she knew that her last best lesson to her children was to show them how to die with grace and dignity.
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.