This week my family lost a very gentle, beloved soul quite unexpectedly. This beautiful young woman, who went to bed on Monday night and didn’t wake up on Tuesday, was someone I shared my childhood with and who I really didn’t expect to lose at such a young age. She will be greatly, greatly missed.
Yet, in the midst of grief, there is so much gratitude.
For her life, shorter than it could have been, but well lived none-the-less. For the many lives she touched and for the happiness that she felt from being with people.
For the childhood memories of companionship and family, of girlhoods full of barbies and teen years full of chick flicks.
For drinking glasses of water and writing lists of chores and playing in the yard. For vitamins and room redecorating and trips to McDonald’s. For the phase she went through when we were little and she wanted to be like my sister and I so much that she stopped calling her parents Mum and Dad and started calling them by their names, because that’s what we called them!
For her love of music, for her eagerness to perform and for the many times we sang together.
For the many Christmases and Easters we spent together in our Grandparents’ home. For the family celebrations and traditions that we shared.
For the hours we spent shopping, playing The Sims and chatting on the phone.
For her love of purple and Jatz biscuits and crafting.
For the joy that filled her face whenever I saw her. She was truly such a happy soul. Life was not easy for her but my memory is filled with her bubbling joy and contagious excitement for simple things.
For the efforts she took to make even simple occasions memorable events. She loved parties and coming up with a theme and getting dressed up. She put so much thought into decorating tables and planning menus and creating outfits. She took such pleasure in hospitality and getting her hair done. She really knew how to savour every last bit of anticipation for an occasion.
For her love of travel. For the tales she could tell about her much anticipated and then warmly remembered trips to Disneyland and Far North Queensland and to visit family and friends near and far.
For all the things she taught me and all the love she gave me and everyone around her.
For her deep compassion and caring for others, especially those less fortunate than herself. For her faith and love of God, for her eagerness to encourage everyone around her to participate and have faith and help others.
For her eagerness to capture moments in time on film, even when I sometimes felt she was too trigger happy with the camera. How glad I am now that she always wanted to take photos.
For how much she loved those soft toys that have a recording device in their hand, so when you squeeze it and talk into them, they repeat back whatever you say in a chipmunk voice. For her laugh and the way she’d kind of not quite get my Dad’s jokes but would chide him for being irreverent.
For the too-few lunch dates we shared and for her love of Sizzler and other good buffet restaurants. For the times she would ring up out of the blue and chatter away for hours if I let her. For her eagerness to get the family together, for her memory and recognition of important dates, for how proud she always was of any and all family achievements, no matter how small.
For the memories I have that I will cherish forever. For the fact that whenever I think of her, the words I think of are ‘love’ and ‘joy’ and ‘fun’.
For 26 years on the same planet as such a beautiful soul.