life is very strange when we forget or are unable to pry them apart.
I will keep this message from my dear friend, along with the memory of our last visit about elephant jokes and bubble bath toys. Nancy was very tired, worn out from "this dying gig" that had gone on for so very long. Still, her quirky sense of humor was intact. So was her skill at noticing the sublime in the ordinary. Failing physically, her spiritual center was glowing and inspiring her friends.
Our ice storm began just hours after Nancy posted her email. All day Tuesday I sent whatever it is I send out to wherever it is I send it requesting that Nancy's spiritual might be pried apart peacefully from her physical. I tromped through the icy park in the howling wind to take some winter berry photos for her, and had the strangest sensation that she was sending me the berries.
I am grateful to Janie for forming and nurturing our little band of three library junky MOBOs all born in '55. I am grateful to Steph for suggesting Muriel Barbery's Elegance of the Hedgehog, which prepared me to find "the always within the never".
This is the most true and lovely obituary I have ever read, so I include it almost in its entirety and without any permission whatsoever:
Rush, Nancy Chandler Passed away peacefully on February 1, 2011, after long illness. Nancy was born on March 17, 1955 in Amarillo, Texas, where she graduated from Tascosa High School. She earned a B.A. in Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1980. Nancy began her career as an Associate with the Dallas firm, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld, and was among that first generation of brilliant women to enter prestigious law firms in force. She was admitted to partnership in 1991. Married in 1981, Nancy is survived by her husband David S. White, her children, James D. White, Pfc. Michael J. White, and Pfc. John S. White, her parents ... and a large extended family. Nancy was a devoted member of Greenland Hills United Methodist Church, where she served faithfully in the shared work of worship, education, and mission. She enriched the lives of all she knew. Throughout her illness, Nancy never wavered from knowing in her bones that God is good all the time. Her courage and love for her family and friends inspired us all, especially in her final months. A memorial service celebrating this remarkable spirit will be held on Thursday, 10 am, February 10, 2011...
I Google "tascosa", knowing my ever-curious friend would also want to know if her high school name was related to the Aztec word for "cedar brake", "tascotal". The Handbook of Texas Online indicates the cowboy town of Tascosa, Texas, was named for Atascosa Creek, and that "atascosa" is Spanish for boggy. Ground in a cedar brake can become boggy when cedar tree's shaggy bark sheds and covers the ground preventing the growth of other species. This gives rise to a monoculture, as explained by Dr. Geoffrey Stanford in the Texas Native Plant Society News, Vol. 5, No. 2, March/April 1987 .
It is easier to Google boggy than to have a good cry celebrating the always within the never of berries. A coincidence brought me the gift of Nancy's friendship, and I will hold it always in my heart.
© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder