Today, I missed a funeral service because I do not live in (or near) my hometown. A friend has died this week. A good friend, Donna, who always made me feel loved and like family.
My friend had one last beautiful day: Easter 2015. I sent her flowers, not knowing she would pass before their arrival.
I cried for her passing, and rejoice in her life. I am a better person for knowing her.
Donna was the grandmother of the kids I nannied a few years ago. My nanny job was my most favorite post-college job (rivaled by this current one, perhaps) and that is because I fell in love with the family I worked for - they became good friends of mine. The son and I were especially close because he did not attend school like his sister. We would spend most of the 10 hour work day together, sans a few hours of nap time, and we genuinely enjoyed each other's company.
Donna was one of my favorite parts of the job - seeing her and talking to her was delightful. She was very active in her grandchildren's lives, and I loved watching their interactions. Kindness was her voice.
She took the time to get to know me and keep up with my life. When I was engaged, she gave Will and I a wedding present which was extremely personal and generous - and that was her essence. She sincerely cared for people, and because she cared for them, she invested in them. I saw this many times in her interactions with others.
A few months after I got married, the family went on a month-long trip. I spent the month living at Donna's house, taking full care of my young charge. I was also - as some of you remember - in my first trimester with Grace. I was pretty miserable, nausea-wise. Donna made sure the house was always stocked with my four main food groups: Cream of Wheat, Progresso vegetable soup, saltines and Graeter's raspberry sorbet. She insisted I sleep in till 8 a.m. (I was usually at work by 7:30!), gave me 40 hours off on the weekend to go home to Will, and was an extremely gracious hostess. It might seem awkward to live at your employer's mother's house for a month, but it wasn't. That is a very rare quality - to put people at ease, to welcome them, and to accept them. Donna had that quality, and more.
Donna, I will never forget the conversations we had. I appreciate the way you interacted with everyone around you with respect, and I admired your generosity of spirit, a real giving of self. You taught me so much about the beauty of the human spirit, and I love you.
Thank you for loving me too.