Saying goodbye

A woman from my church died last week, probably from a heart attack. I didn't know her well, but that didn't matter to her. She was one of those people who'd hug a total stranger, flash a smile, tell a joke, giggle like a schoolgirl (even though she was probably in her eighties).

She always had a good morning hug for me on Sundays, or when we'd see each other at Covenant Group (think Bible Study without the Bible; think therapy without the psychology degrees). We're having a memorial Covenant Group meeting tonight to say goodbye and share our memories and thoughts.

I'm going to talk about her smiles and hugs, about her fantastic way of finding the extraordinary in the everyday. I'm going to talk about her attitude, a very "oh what the heck, let's give it a whirl" way of barreling through life. She wasn't afraid to be silly or emotional or whimsical. She wasn't afraid to laugh, maybe even laugh at herself at times.

I plan to share an essay from NPR's This I Believe program, titled "I Believe in Laughter." It made me think of Carrie. She always enjoyed telling her stories. Many of them were filled with laughter. I will miss her stories. I will miss her.

She smiled and made me smile. She laughed and made me laugh. Over the past few days, her passing has made a lot of people cry. But most important, whether we laugh or cry, we remember. And we celebrate the truly special person she was.

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