Location: Norwalk Connecticut
As I reflect on my sister Adrienne and our relationship, knowing that in the particular we find the universal, I find the primary question we all grapple with around death to be, "Do I still have access to some of what I lost?" I believe she is reflecting on this too.
And as I follow this query, in my heart I wonder, "What do I think and know about what she knew of life and death?" And during these moments during which I stand here before you, my intention is to speak of how her life inspires. It’s not at all a simple thing to do, when someone dies it is always complicated.
Mostly I want to honor her and her children, in this most poignant of moments; poignant because of the loss she and we face – the loss of life at such a young age and the loss of her children – while at the same time as a mother I find comfort in knowing that her love is everlasting in and for her children. In feeling both the pain of loss and that knowledge that life goes on, in having the journeying into and out of those oceans of the heart, there is divine mercy. And I don’t underestimate the power of intention to give what ever words I share some gift to comfort you who are here, and to bless and honor her as well. I want to tell you Peter, Sam and Meghan that your mommy loved you, and I loved your mommy. That she was a little girl once too, and faced challenges just as each of you do, that she was mischievous and found her way, and that each of you have characteristics and gifts that you got from her, and that you will find your way too. In these last days we spent together she talked about her dreams for you, and we enjoyed the fruits of those dreams as they exist here and now. I know what she knew about you as I look at you Peter, at your successes and energy for building a future that she honored for you. And how beautiful I imagine Meghan’s white wedding will be someday, as the ceremony celebrating the joy of being honored and loved in that holiest of commitments. I see her sense of humor in Sam, and honor that ability to laugh at life as one of the greatest of gifts. I want you to know that you have all those powerful gifts because your mommy did, that she wanted them for you, and we give thanks to her for her part in that.
I have heard other things about her during these days, about how tireless an advocate she was for those she loved, and that she enjoyed a good fight when she deemed it necessary. We all honored her appetite for shows and concerts, dinner and spa days at the beach in between chemotherapy sessions even up to these last few months. All the while she stayed in touch with many of her numerous friends, with a touching concern for their health and well-being and the desire to protect them from knowledge of her perilous position on the edge of her life.
There was a unique way in which she thoughtfully wove the threads that made the tapestry of the life she built for herself. Her sister-in-law saw her as something of a mason, constructing stone by stone what she envisioned as the body and soul of her life, and what an apt description this is. It reminds me that as a radiologist she practiced a uniquely structural and visual form of medicine, and that I will miss her professionally as well as the other ways in which I miss her.
These months of illness have been focused on healing. As Adrienne did so many things in life, she worked relentlessly with fierce optimism on this most difficult of challenges, wanting to be here with family and to protect us as well. She continued to work and to play, savoring life even as she battled what seemed an awful foe, and I have seen the reworking of some family riddles as part of this healing. It was her intention to see Christmas with her family around her, and she choose Epiphany as a splendid day to die to this world. As painful as it has been, it has also been beautiful as we all came together and are still together, as I know she would want us to be, supporting each other. And a part of the healing will be to know that we survived, unfair as that seems right now. I know I have been grateful to have been a part of this, and to see all of you here today to memorialize her and your relationships to her life brings me joy as I hope you too will find support here. She and all of us hope you will join us after the burial in sharing refreshments and stories celebrating her life. - by her sister Theresa Ferracci Myers
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