I’m not sure how to start this. Purple ribbons are up in our yard, all around my neighborhood and down the main street of my town. We went to a funeral yesterday for a 16-year-old friend of my children who died suddenly and unexpectedly.
The purple ribbons are a symbol of how she touched our lives, and a way to show her family that the community shares their loss. Purple was her favorite color, and purple is the color of Advent.
Any time a life is cut short at such a young age, it’s heartbreaking. At this time of year, it’s especially difficult. But this young person meant so much to so many. She was the most cheerful person, full of laughter, always smiling. She made an impression on everyone who met her. She radiated joy and passed it along. She had special needs, and the real challenges that come with that, and her life, short as it was, was one of the most affirming and positive I’ve ever seen. She was a far better person than most. She was a gift.
She wasn’t mean, she wasn’t greedy, she wasn’t selfish, she wasn’t rude, she didn’t sow discord or division, she didn’t exclude others, she didn’t hurt others, she didn’t take from others so she could have more. She saw good in everything and welcomed everyone as a friend. She beamed with joy. She was alight with it. She was full of affection. Her character, her demeanor, her smile — all were gifts.
In some ways, this is the season of gifts. But I’m reminded that the real gifts have been given to all of us already, and we can share those freely every day. That is something to celebrate. I wish everyone a healthy holiday season, filled with love, peace, warmth, light, and comfort and joy.