Loss, modesty, celebration, life and death


March 16, 2014 by readlisaread

As I approach decade #5 I am struck–but not surprised– by the eventuality of finding myself at Middle Age, and all that that implies. I have embraced myself as a worthwhile bordering-on-awesome person, accept that all too soon my babies won’t need me as much, and have said good-bye a number of members of the previous generation. One grows up with the knowledge that saying good bye to grandparents and parents, aunts and uncles is a foregone conclusion. That is the natural order of things. But you face your own mortality when members of your own generation pass.

In the past week I’ve had occasion to reflect on this truth, and consider the coincidences between the lives, and deaths, of two women. These two women didn’t know each other, but had similarities both in life, and in death. Family and their children were the centre of their lives. Cancer ruled their deaths, but not the end of their lives. Sadness was understood, but not an accepted part of a visit or conversation–embraced, but not dwelled upon. And both women were very clear about how their passing was to be observed. Much as how they both presented themselves–with quiet modesty–in life, they both requested that their death be marked with neither mourning nor fuss. They asked simply to be laid to rest, and perhaps, if it seemed appropriate, there be a celebration in the sometime-future, with sunshine and smiles and no sadness.

I struggle with this last part, because I want the families to know I support them, and to bond with others who knew and loved them, and to bear witness to the marking of lives fully lived. In both cases, my initial reaction was that I wasn’t surprised, they both were women who didn’t relish the spotlight, did not seek to be the centre of attention, were true nurturers. I felt they deserved the spotlight, now, that their families deserved to know that we loved their moms, daughters, sisters……But it turns out, this is not about me, and how I want to grieve. It turns out that regardless of their reasons, these women will be honoured by having their final requests observed. And they both deserve no less.

Taken far too soon, remembered with fondness.

Wendy, an inspirational co-worker.
Jo-Anne, my cousin, but more than that.


  1. Coco says:

    Xo and love

  2. readlisaread says:

    Thanks Coco. You are an inspiration to women who want to be ballsier everywhere. XO + love back, twice.

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