I probably won't be able to speak at her memorial service. But she was important and she was exceptional and she deserves to be remembered.
My ex-sister-in-law, Gail, died last Sunday. She was only 52. I don't know the official cause of death, but I can guess it was due to complications of her demons.
Actually, Gail and I had a bit of a tempestuous relationship. She didn't have children of her own. She adored my kids and was pretty opinionated about how they should be raised and cared for. Unsurprisingly, this caused a bit of friction between us.
For the most part though, I loved her. And I admired her.
She was bubbly and energetic and was the very definition of verve. She was never intimidated by a career challenge--she dove straight in and made the best of any situation.
Gail also loved to entertain and was a fantastic hostess. But the way she influenced my life the most was through her proclivity to celebrate her birthday with panache!
Gail didn't mind aging. And she didn't subscribe to the martyr theory of birthdays (I'm sure you all know people who do the martyr thing, "Oh, it's no big deal--it's just another day . . . ")
Gail celebrated much and with relish. But it wasn't all about her--she used her birthday parties as a platform to celebrate family and friends and especially to glorify the largesse of a brand new, freshly ripened year just waiting to be plucked and savored.
Her death was a long time coming. And the last several years of her life could not have been anything like enjoyable or comfortable. She's at peace now.
Godspeed, Gail. And when we meet again I'll look forward to hearing your familiar old words, "How ya doin? Can I get you something to drink?