I’ve had the privilege of walking with many wonderful people on the path of life, many of them older than me. Every young person should have at least one mentor, a wise and compassionate person willing to share insights about life, and more importantly, an example of how to live it, and I’m incredibly blessed to say I’ve had many mentors. Maybe they didn’t call themselves mentors, maybe they didn’t realize the profound effect they were having on me, but each one touched my life in a special way, and Angela is one of those special people. In the relatively short time I knew her, here are a few lessons of life that she taught me, that I will never forget:
How to age gracefully. I don’t know if I’ve grasped exactly what it takes, but since middle age is only a decade away for me, I dearly appreciate people like Angela who show that it’s possible to be older in name only. Her youthfulness, vibrancy, and laughter were ever-present auras around her. She didn’t have to cover up her lovely silvery hair. It was just another part of her that showed she embraced each stage of life, without worrying about “getting old.”
How to be beautiful, inside and out. Here’s another quality I loved about Angela. She was a natural beauty, no doubt about it, but the inner beauty that radiated from her eyes was something truly unforgettable. It was a beauty embodied in words like “gentle,” “compassionate,” “loving,” “sympathetic,” and “kind.”
How to have a belly bumper. I know I mentioned her laughter already, but her infectious chortles deserve individual attention. When she laughed—which she did often, and never unkindly—she really laughed, a deep and rippling sound that spoke of her love of a good joke or a humorous situation.
How to care for others. Whether a gentle touch, a sincere interest in someone’s personal favorite food, or a kind enquiry as to whether someone was staying warm enough in cold weather, Angela had that special quality of caring. She cared, and she acted on it, whenever she could. This wasn’t something that could be put on. I believe that she actually thought about others twice as much as she ever thought about herself.
How to double others’ joy. When Mike and I had our baby, Justin, Angela sent us a little pair of shoes for him. “I just couldn’t resist,” she said, with her characteristic warmth and generosity. Angela truly rejoiced in other’s happiness, and it’s extra special knowing that Justin has an angel like her looking down on him now and then too.
So thank you, Angela—because I know you’re smiling down on us—for teaching me all this and more through your example. You lived life to the full because it was a life filled with love for others. I pray I can learn to be at least half the woman you were and still are. Until we meet again in Heaven, I love you.