A friend’s life was celebrated today, a full life that ended far too soon.
Her people, so many of us, filled the graceful Cecil Green Park House with choir music, memories, chatter happy and sad. It was a brilliant sunny and blue day, after months of dark wet. The pussy willows visible out the conservatory windows looked about to burst. Two eagles circled overhead, lifted by air rushing off the Salish Sea into the cliffs of Point Grey.
In photos taken of her as a young and not-yet-old woman Judith beamed at us, as if taking it all in, from frames placed on a memory table. The table was laden with a life of love: of her family, her friends, her cooking, knitting, art history scholarship, volunteerism, journalism.
Her husband Richard read, aloud, a letter she wrote to him when they were first together, a perfect shining expression of philia. Her son spoke of their last trip. Her husband’s choir sang, in a circle.
Grieving seems oddly misplaced when reflecting on someone whose cup ran over with joy, accomplishment, loving and being loved. But grief is hand in hand with death, and so is regret. Regret that I didn’t get to know her better after we volunteered together on our children’s school Parent Advisory Council, spend more time, relish her many works.
And something else. A renewed resolve to seize each day, to acknowledge my tribe with care, to renew neglected friendships, to live a good life in honour of, perhaps partly for, a friend who has passed.
– Cecil Green Park House, University of British Columbia, Vancouver