For Lynn, Marta, and Teddy
Yesterday began the second week of Advent on the Christian calendar. The word Advent derives from Latin and means an approach or awaited arrival. The season of Advent, covering most of the month of December, is about waiting for the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. We mark this time of waiting with calendars and wreaths.
We’ve all been doing a lot of waiting in recent months, even before Advent began, mostly in hopes that things will get better – the job market, our home values, the economy, our government (whose sensitivity to its citizens is ever fading).
But this is also a time of passing.
A passing of the noise of election campaigns
A passing of the earthly season – fallen leaves giving way to bright holly berries
And for me, there is the passing of brightness that took form in the lives of three special people, people who have recently passed on – “gone before us marked with the sign of faith,” as the priests say in the course of the Catholic Mass.
Lynn – who counseled me in my walk on Cancer Road. Her twinkling eyes and great humor helped me keep it all in perspective. She had to take up her own journey on that road, on a much swifter course that took her away.
Marta – another traveler on this road, whose reassuring words after my diagnosis helped me see cancer as a life event, not a death sentence. For 6 years, she danced with Cancer, till her body could no longer take the steps.
And Teddy — who did not die of cancer, but whose generous and compassionate heart simply gave out. The particular cause of his death does not matter, though, for his illness teaches the same lessons:
To recognize our own mortality
To see the many blessings of our life while we have them.
These three have gone on to the place of peace we believe exists for us all. May those of us left behind in sorrow at their passing find a measure of that peace as we await Christmas and the coming of the new year.
For Carel, Karl, and Clara Fern
And all of us who wait, with all our losses
A season of waiting
A season of passing
A season of peace