Id like to share a short reflection on the life and death of my grandmother that I think is relevant to our discussions here. She passed away on Thursday the 5th of March at 5.30pm. Its funny, while she was alive I always loved her and appreciated her support and generosity but it wasnt until I received the news of her death that I saw, almost like a revelation, how utterly dedicated her life had been to generosity. Not in any deliberate or self conscious way, she never drew attention to her generosity, it was just part of who she was, an aspect of her character that carried her through life with grace. All her life she served others, sacrificed herself for others, never complaining, she wasnt a burden to anyone. She simply gave. She wasnt the most glamorous of personalities, she didnt scale mountains or break records, she wasnt the life and soul of the party. She didnt stand out or draw the limelight. She lived her life simply and honestly, without fanfare or fuss, just chipping away in the background, silently facilitating the lives of those around her with no seeming thought of what she might get out of it herself. Whatever she had she shared with others. Without her support and generosity I would not have been able to pursue with such ease those things that have opened my heart the most.
She was diagnosed with cancer 2 years before she died but she didnt fight it, she didnt battle with the cancer, she didnt seem to suffer that much with it. She accepted it and she bore it, like she bore everything, with grace and a quiet dignity and generosity of spirit. I was lucky enough to be able spend time alone with her in her final months and it became very clear to me the difference that Burgs speaks about between personality and character. She had regrets at a personality level, of dreams not followed, but at a soul level she seemed to be genuinely at peace. The only fear I sensed in her was that she might in her frailty be a burden to others. She lived her life for others and did what needed to be done including helping to nurse two of her family members through their deaths. As a result she was able, when her time came, to slip peacefully away with a full and open heart, knowing she had loved and had been loved. Knowing deep down that she had contributed more than she took. The word cancer often conjures fear and images of tragedy and great suffering. But hers was not a tragic death, she died in her own home, holding the hands of her children, having just met her second great grandson. She wasnt in great pain, She wasnt on any medication, she was fully aware of what was happening. She just slipped away into stillness. I cant imagine a more graceful and dignified death, the fruit of a life well lived. A life dedicated to the welfare of others.