There are some things that forever change you. You’re one person before it occurs, and another person afterward. In my immediate family, it was the accidental death on Christmas Day of my uncle Caz, my Mom’s little brother, at just 34. Collectively, a generation before mine would have said that about the assassination of President Kennedy. You could also point to the date in 1997 when Princess Diana’s life was cut short. And, of course, 9/11.
For my dearest friends, and all of us who love them, it will be the inexplicable loss of their daughter. Today, the first of two services will be held in Lauren Davis Shirakawa’s honour, this one in Ottawa for her work and school friends and colleagues. A Toronto service is still in the planning stages. We’ve had a full week to get used to a world without Lauren and it’s no more understandable or acceptable than it was 7 days ago. The outpouring of sympathy on social media, to radio station CHFI, and to Erin, Rob, Lauren’s Phil and their infant son Colin has helped, I can tell you that for certain. That people “got” Lauren is a comfort to her family, even as they still try to make sense of a healthy woman simply not waking up one morning. I don’t think sense can be made of it, actually.
Erin and Rob asked me to record this poem, with this music by Billy Joel and Richard Joo, that they found on Lauren’s computer. Derek mixed it for me. It will be played at the service today and Erin suggested I post it here. It’s a beautiful bit of prose with a Celtic origin. And its hopeful perspective makes me feel just the tiniest bit better, at least for a while.