She was only 39 and had two young children when she succumbed to breast cancer last weekend. A beloved wife, and an ex-Olympic athlete with a shining professional career.
Yesterday I was at her funeral. The baby sister of my oldest friend.
Her family, friends and work colleagues overflowed the large church, so the rector had to open the doors to the side chapel as well. The bitter, barren Ottawa winter day was a shock as I left the church. Inside it had been stifling with love and heartbreak. My heart ached for my dear old friend. Later, as I few home, I thought I could not bear to lose my own little sister.
By unhappy coincidence, just before I had left to fly back east for the funeral, my mother told me of another untimely death from cancer the same day: a family friend. She was the mother of someone I know, who is also a member of the blogging community. She wrote touchingly of her mother's death here.
There is no fairness or sense in such sad deaths. But for me there is a light shining through the sorrow of the last few days: I am reminded what a precious gift it is that my little sister and my parents are, well, here and healthy today. And to be grateful for that each new day.
Mom, Dad, Sis, I love you.