For Lynn: 1948-2011

Taking wing
My friend Lynn passed away yesterday morning. Or, as our friend Marian says, she "flew away." Somehow, writing here had to be part of my grieving.

I'd only known Lynn for three years. She's part of the women's group I take a retreat with every summer. And she was an avid reader of this blog. Whenever we were together, she told me how much she loved the space that readers create here, told me about the recipes she'd tried, and encouraged me in whatever I was doing. I was always so humbled by that. She was an activist, organizer, optimist, and tireless protagonist for justice, progressive values, inclusion, and sustainability. Most recently, she served at the Institute for Washington's Future, driving frequently to Eastern Washington where she worked with rural communities to help create economic opportunity and fairness, better quality of life, and facilitate partnerships between unlikely people.

In other words, she really lived her life. Even in her cancer diagnosis (only six weeks ago!) and rapid hospitalization, she was living her amazing life. The doctors and nurses couldn't believe how many people came to visit her, the care and kindness that was showered on her as her body declined. I was able to visit her in the hospital a couple times, and I sang her a song I made up:

Love is everywhere
Love is everywhere
And love watches over you,
Love watches over you.

For my Gathering sisters who might be reading this, I will teach it to you this summer. But that's what I felt at her bedside--not fear, or despair, or striving, but absolute love. I feel so blessed to have been a little part of her inspiring life, and to see how she and the community we're part of walked with her into death.

I found this photo of Lynn on her Facebook page. I have no idea how old she was in it, and of course I didn't know her (or maybe I wasn't even born!) when it was taken. How beautiful she was, how smart, kind, quick to laugh, and affectionate. You are flying now, Lynn, in death as you did in life. I will carry on your work in whatever ways I can.

Lynn