When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Remembering Emilee

Today I am fondly remembering Emilee, a dear sister-in-law and friend who would have been turning 33 today. Emilee passed away last June after a courageous journey with brain cancer, and since losing her, our whole family has so often missed her vibrant personality, her kindness and love, her creativity and wonderful ideas, her bright smile and laughter. My heart feels such sorrow for Emilee's husband, her parents, her siblings, and her close-knit extended family, who must feel Emilee's absence so keenly because of the very special place she held in all of their lives.

I only had the pleasure of knowing Emilee for a few short years, but in that time, I felt like we were old, good friends. She and I were on the same page when it came to being organized in life; we liked to talk about our "lists" and the satisfaction we felt at crossing things off them. She was full of imaginative ideas for projects and thoughtful gifts, and I loved chatting with her about both of our latest creative endeavours. Emilee was a wonderful auntie to the boys, spending time sprawled on the floor with them drawing designs for buildings and fashioning structures out of Lego. Hours spent with Emilee were always happy and warm; she radiated an energy and love that made us all feel very much at home around her.

Last June, in the final week of Emilee's life with us, I vividly remember lying on the trampoline in our backyard with Will, gazing up at a brilliant, perfectly clear blue sky and trying to answer Will's questions about what it would be like to go to Heaven. It seemed to me then that early summer was such a sad, unfair time to die, when the world was just bursting with new beauty and promise. Like the flower blossoms that were just then opening up in the warm sunshine, Emilee's life was young and lovely, and there were so many things she should have been able to live to experience. It was hard not to feel utter despair for the sad, sad loss of such a wonderful woman.

As a small comfort, I try now to think about how Emilee's short presence in our lives touched us in the same way that those early summer blossoms do. We appreciate so dearly their cheerful hues and the happiness they bring to our hearts in their season. It's true that their beautiful lives are fleeting, but when we struggle through the darkness of winter, or sorrow, we can remember that someday, we will delight in their presence once again.

On Emilee's birthday and always, I feel so grateful to have had the chance to know such an inspiring woman. Today, Emilee, we all celebrate your life and the enthusiastic, honourable, and loving way you lived it. We sure miss you.

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