I went to a funeral today.
Years ago when we was jes' mere slips of a girl, too young to be hitched or hippin' babies while we shopped for vittles, Lizzy and me was solace fer each other. We traded ideas fer one more dried bean recipe, traded coupons and watched each other's baby when we had migraines.
We shared magazines and books and dreamed of the future. Our hurdles and potholes in life were made of the same stuff millions of others faced daily.
"Hers was an ordinary life," the priest said.
We had ordinary lives wif' ordinary needs. Our ordinary troubles jabbed at hearts wif' extraordinary pain. Our ordinary delights seemed to us extraordinary joys.
Futures fold into form, like origami birds; our creases pressed us into different shapes and we flew along our appointed currents.
"You're looking well! Can it have been a year?" we laughed each time a chance breeze conjured up an encounter. "We must do better. How are your Thursdays?"
And down the decades we flew.
"I have this letter," the priest said. "It says more than I can about Lizzy, and her ordinary life."
It was my blessing to meet you, Lizzy. And I miss you so much already. Only two years, yet it seems you have always been in my life. When I could not endure another day of treatment, you comforted me. When difficult patients balked, your calm assurance turned stubbornness into cooperation. Somehow you brought laughter with every visit, an impish grin that disarmed us all. Your "chemo-cocktail" was an occasion of mirth and chatter. Somehow I believed life was worth living. Because of your struggle my life is worth living. I miss you. And I love you.
"This was written by the oncology nurse," said the priest. "you see, Lizzy led what many would describe as an ordinary life. Maybe she did. It's just as well. You can't impress God with dazzle. Lizzy lived an ordinary life......and she did it with extraordinary love."