Soulgatherings.wordpress.com provides a daily quote that invariably touches me. Sometimes it is the words themselves, other times it is a thought that adheres to my brain and requires my attention for hours at a time. Either way, it’s all good. Yesterday’s poem by Carol Adrienne is fresh in my mind –
“Our purpose, I believe
is not a thing, place, title or even a talent.
Our purpose is to be.
Our purpose is how we live life,
not what role we live.
Our purpose is found in each moment
as we make choices to be who we really are.”
I had the privilege of circling in Fran’s orbit for twenty-two years. She was my brother-in-law’s mom – no true familial connection that I can trace, yet a connection that I felt deeply. She passed away last week, quietly, without pain, turning her slumber into what I hope is a new chapter in a story none of us fully understand. Her son is choosing to remember with happiness and grace, the amazing woman he loved so deeply. Denial? Perhaps. I’m not judging, for it would be hubris to suggest how one grieves. That said, I think he’s on to something. It resonates when thinking about what Fran would want.
What was remarkable about Fran was her insistence that she was not at all remarkable. She raised two children, worked side by side with her husband and loved unconditionally. Her life may not have been perfect, but it was perfect in her eyes. Her son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, niece – all human, all subject to the qualities that define our humanity (the good and the less-than-ideal) – could not be more marvelous, gifted, loving, generous. She would not brook any complaints, whines, dissatisfactions – her purpose was to live with love. Period. Fran didn’t try to change your point of view to hers; she changed your mind because you would look at her face and see a sense of peace that few reflect so consistently. And so you’d wonder what she had figured out that completely eluded you. And you’d want to spend more time with her – if only to bask in the reflected light that she saw in everyone. I can’t imagine how it must have felt to ever disappoint her and she would never tell you. Fran left it up to you to figure it out. How one human being treats another; how we show our love to those we ostensibly hold the closest. She taught you by showing you, there were no words or reprimands or chilly shoulders. She lived her love.
And though it’s been a while since Fran was at Thanksgiving, she will be remembered next Thursday with wine glasses raised and full hearts. For to have known Fran was to be given a chance to see someone live her life with the highest purpose; to be loved by Fran was to have your heart opened to the incredible power of simple goodness. Safe journey Fran and thank you for those many mornings all those years ago, when we watched the sunrise as your family slept, and wondered aloud at the fantastic serendipity that brought us to those two chairs by the sea.