|WILSHIRE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH|
WILSHIRE AND PLYMOUTH BLVDS., LOS ANGELES
THE MEMORIAL WASN'T HERE BUT I MET A-K AT VARIOUS
KINDS OF GATHERINGS HERE MANY TIMES THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
It was a beautiful memorial, packed with folks whose lives Ann-Kristin had touched. Many people gave eulogies: funny, poignant and true. "Boy was she stubborn." "Ann-Kristin could be difficult." "Ann-Kristin could be volatile." "Ann-Kristin could be brusque."
And also "Ann Kristin had a way with emotionally damaged people like no-one I've ever seen." "Ann Kristin was a stunning speaker." "Ann-Kristin loved to dance; Ann-Kristin loved nature, Ann-Kristin was an accomplished writer. Ann-Kristin never gave up hope." "Ann-Kristin was of unbelievable service."
Two things about Ann Kristin stand out.
One was that her telling me that her mother had been in a mental institution for most if not all of A-K's life. Along with many other equally horrific circumstances, this had made for a difficult, if not traumatic childhood. The way I remember her telling it, Ann-Kristin had given up trying to make contact with her mother. She had self-pity, anger, and resentment around her mother.
And one day, with the help of her own spiritual guides, she realized: Call your mother once a week and tell her everything that's going on your life just as you wish she could tell you. Give to her what you wish she could give you herself. Give her the news, tell her the flower you saw on your walk, the triumph at work, the little argument you had with your friend.
Over time, the resentment and self-pity disappeared. What was left was compassion. What was left was love.
The other thing I especially remember was calling Ann Kristin one night, many years ago, for guidance. I can't remember what the problem was, but I know I went on for slightly longer than someone who wasn't quite so self-obsessed might have. I remember that Ann-Kristin listened patiently. I remember that she gave me her usual common-sense, warm but firm guidance. I remember that I felt consoled and encouraged, as I always did after I spoke with her. I remember that at the end of the conversation, I asked, "So how are YOU?"
"Fine, really, thanks," she replied. "I have my surgery in the morning but everyone has been so kind and supportive and I'll go with God."
The surgery was a double mastectomy.
She died of breast cancer.
|THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DID FOR ME|