Back in January I did a post called Team Orange. That post remains one of my most "hit" posts of all time, and not because it was eloquent. It is because the lives that this woman touched were many, and the post got forwarded, put on Facebook by various people, etc., and it sort of rippled - just like her vast love.
I'm sad to say that this incredible woman died very early Wednesday morning. I met her only a handful of times and I can hardly pull myself together. An e-mail went out asking that we place a flower in the orange ribbons that still line street after street in this neighborhood. Needless to say, there are flowers everywhere.
This week, as we all knew her time was near, you'd see people wearing orange, sporting orange headbands, bracelets, you-name it. Each time I saw it I smiled, teared up and felt moved to my core. Truly, this woman's heroic fight with cancer and ultimate surrender and loss to it, brought this community together like nothing I've ever seen. Until all this, I under-appreciated orange. Now I can't look at it without seeing it's beauty - it's perfect blend of two primary colors: red and yellow, it's very Middle Way-ness. I see it everywhere I look, and I find that so comforting, like she is everywhere, and I believe that to be true.
I don't know how you begin to convince three small children that her 42-year-life was anything but cut short, and that her death was not tragic. For them, it was and is. For her husband, parents, siblings, family and huge circle of friends, the loss is unimaginable. So, too, have been the gifts, though. One of her closest friends and I ran into each other in the grocery store Tuesday, and talked about this. She died just like she lived: generously, kindly, compassionately, courageously. She was a teacher.
She was an an angel when she "lived" and she is most certainly one now - one whose name we know. Long may her lessons live.