Friday, 25 January 2008

In Memoriam

Death is such a dirty, rotten thief and scoundrel - sculking around to steal those who live liveliest, and who have so very much to lose. Like Claudia, who leaves a devoted husband and two children to mourn her.

I just caught word an hour ago that Claudia passed away yesterday. I feel immensely sad.

I had just been asking my friend about her on Tuesday. My friend called her immediately after we hung up but apparently there was no answer. Said friend feels terrible that she got caught up in her own busy life this past month. And I feel that ache of regret at not having performed a random act of kindness for virtual strangers, as they juggled Ricardo's travel, her sons' soccer, plus Claudia's hospice and homecare scheduling challenges.

You see, Claudia and I were barely acquainted - she was the friend of a friend, as was her son and Holy Son - who also share a mutual close friend. I would see her at church only occasionally because she tended to go to the earlier service. The last time I saw her, she was sitting in front of me in church during the later service, flanked on either side by her two young boys. She seemed well enough, but cancer is an evil shapeshifter like that.

Despite or more to the point, because I barely knew her, I found myself quietly lurking on Ricardo's blog - sharing vicariously in the pain and suffering of her illness and his narrative, which he so eloquently and honestly revealed to the world. And though she never knew, she touched my life. Her courage and strength as a wife and mother, in the face of terminal cancer, both terrified and inspired me.

I cannot even begin to imagine how she was able to project such grace, resolve and what looked suspiciously like a whole lot of, but was likely the mask of eventual acceptance born of serenity prayer embodiment. Ultimately, she did wage a pugnacious and feisty battle against the cancer. She beat the odds and borrowed a handful more days and weeks cards than Death and Fate originally dealt her.

And so in honour of Claudia's tenacity and timeless Spirit, I will place a small inukshuk in the memorial garden at church this Sunday. And while it may sound cheesy and perhaps sacrilegious, I'm going to finally get around to going to see The Bucket List this weekend and updating and notarizing our bloody will, which hasn't been touched since before the birth of my daughter. Death has a way of doing that - sounding that universal gong to get your schmidt together and live large, because life, she is is short-statured.

Claudia's service isn't until next Saturday - Holy Son and I will attend. It will be our first UU memorial service and a huge departure from the last service we attended three years back - which was Russian Orthodox and more than a little glossolalic and unorthodox sounding to this Orthodox tradition neophyte.

I anticipate next weekend's service being a beautiful tribute to her life and spirit. As below, so above.

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Holy Thought of the Week

"To live fully is to let go and die with each passing moment, and to be reborn in each new one."

~ Jack Kornfield ~