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This post has been churning around my brain for a while now.  I haven’t had the words and the emotional strength to write it.  I still don’t know if I’ll do justice to an amazing woman.

Saying goodbye to you was so wrong.  You were meant to be with us for years yet.  You were meant to meet my daughter, in person, not just through emails, and tell her stories of the mischief I got up to as a kid – mischief you so often instigated and encouraged.  You were meant to keep sending me birthday cards, always on time, always with a silly something that made me laugh.  You were meant to be there for us to visit when we could make the trek across the country.  You were meant to continue inspiring, challenging and pushing me forward in life and my career.

More than anything you were an inspiration to me.  You challenged me to really think about the decisions I made in life, in my career, in connecting to the world.  Each time we spoke (far too rarely as I know now), you questioned me in a way that made me think hard, explain myself and look deep into my soul to see why I had chosen the path I had.  Once you had done that, and heard my answers, you cheered me on, telling me you had my back, telling me I could achieve more than I believed, showing me how to be the best person I could be.  You gave me an alternate view of life, you who worked so hard at each and every job you held, you who gave to your community in so many small ways, you who continued to find joy in life, delight in little sillinesses, and explore the wide, wide world.

That you never had children of your own was a selfish pleasure for me.  You were able to give us so much of your time, your love and yourself.  You were always a part of our lives, from regular visits as small children, to increasingly infrequent phone calls, emails and visits.  Yet each time I made contact you gave me all your attention, taking time off work to spend a day with me, emailing me little thoughts and encouragement when you knew I needed it, and always showing me how special I was in your life.

I now have some of your most loved clothes sitting in my wardrobe, clothes made for you; yet fitting me perfectly.  Clothes that you wore to so many special occasions; clothes worn in treasured photographs.  These clothes still smell of you, even two months after being added to my wardrobe.  There are nights when your scent is stronger, nights when I go to sleep and dream of you.  I hope that when I wear these, I stand a little taller, walk a little stronger and go a little further, just as you always believed i could.

You are missed so much.  The world is a little less without you in it.  Your spirit will continue to encourage me to explore, challenge and contribute.