Yesterday, I attended the celebration of life for a dear friend of mine, Lori Gordon. She passed away suddenly on February 15th. She was the same age as me and it has really shaken me.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought about her a lot. We hadn’t been in close contact for several years, but I keep reminiscing about all the amazing times we shared together. Two years ago, when my friend Ruby passed away, we were asked to write letters containing our favourite memories of her to bring with us to the service. At that time, I had the grand idea that I would start writing letters to all the people of significance in my life and share with them those memories, while they were still here to read them. I started, I sent out a couple, but I never finished. I had a long list and the time just never materialized. I never made it a priority.
I wish I had sent Lori her letter. I wish I’d told her the impact that she’d had on my life. I wish I’d not been so busy. So today, I’m sharing with you what I would have written, and I’m hoping I will make the time in the coming year to complete the rest of my letters.
I don’t remember the exact moment that we met. All I remember are snippets of the times we shared together. We saw each other often because you were roommates with my boyfriend. I remember that I would sometimes come over before he got home, just so that we could sit and chat. The friendship that started during that time lasted well past the relationship and I’m so grateful for the impact you had in my life.
I remember when you came home from Camp Goodtimes with a shaved head. When I asked you about it, you shared with me your stories about Camp. The more you shared with me, the more excited I got about the prospect of going. I purposely made the decision to go a different week than you, so that I was forced to meet people on my own. I LOVED my years at camp. It’s probably one of the most life changing decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m so grateful that you introduced me to it. I regret that I never got to see you in action at camp, but I know you were amazing. The stories I’ve heard resonate so well with what I know about you. I always remember thinking how brave you were for shaving your head. And you were, but what you gave to your kids at camp was even more amazing. You gave so freely of yourself, depositing little bits of strength and light into every life you touched. By simply being you, you made others stronger and braver. That is not something just anyone can do.
You were fearless. Do you remember when you bought a new car… and it was a standard and you didn’t know how to drive it? That didn’t stop you though. You asked me to come with you to pick it up and give you a couple of lessons. You knew you would figure it out eventually. A couple of days later, I got a call because you were stuck. You couldn’t figure out how to put the car into reverse! When I came to rescue you, we discovered that there was a release that had to be lifted up before the car would go into reverse. We were in fits of giggles as we both tried to figure it out. It takes a special person to make a decision to do something and just learn as you go… and you applied that fearlessness to so much more than just purchasing cars 🙂 It permeated your life and showed itself in all your decisions.
These are a couple of photos from one of the girls weekends we did at my friend’s cabin, many, many years ago. When I look at this photo of you, I see your zest and love of life shining through. I can hear your laugh and I can almost feel your hugs.
I know we spent the weekend crafting, drinking wine (often while lounging and talking in the hot tub), watching “chick flicks” and laughing. Nothing really sticks out as extraordinary, but I can’t help but smile for the time we spent together that weekend.
At your service yesterday, I heard so many stories about the impact you had on at risk youth in our communities. None of them surprised me. You were doing what you were meant to do. You were making a difference, just as you always have. The ripples of your life will continue to be felt for a long time. You lived your life so well and I’m so honoured to have known you. May those closest to you find solace in the joy you brought to their lives. Thank you for being you and making me a better me.
As I was leaving the service yesterday, I stopped to say goodbye to Lori’s mom, Carol. I shared a brief story with her, as it was all I could manage while trying to suppress my tears. She sent me home with this.
Daffodils were Lori’s birthday flower. Carol asked me to plant these in my garden and to think of Lori when they come up each spring. I’ll be planting them with my girls later today, and while I do, I’ll share with them some stories about Lori. About her bravery, her zest for life, her love and her laughter. I’m so grateful for the times we shared and I’ll look for these flowers each spring, think of her and smile.