December 21, 1956 to March 27, 2010Sometimes life seems so unfair. The adage that the Good Die Young is so appropriate for me today. My friend and sister, Barbara Morin-Malloy died at the age of 53 on Saturday. Her unwavering faith in the good of humankind can be a beacon for all of us right now--my angel, my friend. She's gone, but not the good works. There will be a large chunk missing from my life with her passing, but I know that she is not truly gone--she's right here in my heart.
There are moments in time that are forever etched in our brains, especially those moments that we can never get back. My friend's face at church comes to mind. She loved Lamb of God. We are both Lutherans who for about two years did the Sunday services, from the liturgy and praise to the sermon. Our favorite part, of course, was the communion, where we shared the body and blood of Jesus Christ with others. Another moment is when we put together interfaith services at this our small congregation church, bringing choirs and monks together to share the love of God. Another moment is watching her with the children in her community, a community where people were often marginalized. After Katrina, many of the residents of her complex were from New Orleans. Many of the downtrodden. Barbara was their champion. And still there are other moments etched in my brain, especially the one of her this past December, smaller and hooked to a breathing machine. Still she kept going-moving forward, coming to support me at a critical time that weekend. She was always, always, my champion.
But, the memories that will be forever etched in my heart are the ones of Barbara and Dianna. Dianna, her daughter, at age 5 or 6, helping her mother around the church. Dianna in her white robe, lighting the candles at church. Dianna, in my classroom at Sunday school, digging in the dirt with the other children as we reenacted the scene from Holes. Dianna, holding her mother here.
Barbara and DiannaBarbara, I believe, helped her daughter to be strong. She loved her in ways that helped her grapple with her illness, but not use her illness as an excuse. If something had to get done, Barbara would do it. She might be tired afterwards, but she never complained. Dianna could not have asked for a better mother or example for life. But, now it is our turn. Barbara has placed Dianna in our capable hands. She knows that we will help Jerry (her husband) and Dianna through this difficult time and in the times to come. Because that is what sisters (family) do. We don't ask where will the child sleep or how will the child eat because each of us will do that.
Dianna, this message is for you. Your mother gave you not only life, but the tools by which you will continue to grow into the woman she saw in you at birth. Strong, vibrant, self-confident and courageous. Just know that you will not do it alone. We are here. We are your sisters. We are your family. And like your mother--we love you.
One other thing, Dianna. You mother did not leave you. She stands by you. You can still call on her and her comfort will come and surround you. Right now she's with Nana (remember my Mom) and they are watching over both of us. I love you, dear heart. Rest assured, you have my support until, I too, am called home.
So, Barbara. Sleep the eternal peace, My Sister of the heart. We'll meet again. I'm sure of it. In the meantime, we'll watch over Dianna with the protectiveness and love you gave to each of us.
Your Sister, P.K.
Dianna picked the pictures here. If you would like to send her a message, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass it on to her. Or send her message via facebook (Dianna Malloy).