When she died she was surrounded by love. Literally. Her children and her husband and some friends, including me, in the room with her all honoring her. Telling her they love her. Telling them how good she was. How it was ok. Only the last one was kind of a lie. None of them having to gloss over anything unsavoury in order to make themselves feel better, just able to say, because of who she was and how she lived her life, that she was loved. Her family in the lounge and the kitchen. All there honoring her. Talking about her childhood, and her quirks and her achievements.
Simon, her husband and best friend was talking about making a business card for her with all her achievements on it. We were joking about how he would have to ditch the card, there was not font small enough. It would have to be a concertina affair. Or just a scroll. Hours before she died she was awarded her Winston Churchill Fellowship for her project on women with disabilities and sexual abuse. She handed it in last week. She was still at work this week.
i was so honored that she asked me to paint a cover painting for her Fellowship paper. This is the painting - i delivered it to her yesterday and was so glad to hear how she loved it. That is her in the middle... maybe she looks a bit resolute but there was a steely determination that she walked in the world with... she was able to imagine possibilities where others saw problems and then do something about it. Visionary and hard working.
It is impossible to not start on about all she did because it was inextricably linked to who she was. Her accolades weren't gathered for her glory although she was rightfully proud of them. They were gathered with her sense of mission. Her zeal. My husband said, as he was driving to the airport to drop me off for the exorbitantly expensive flight, that Vicki was like a saint. Had that kind of otherworldly slightly out of the ordinary drive that seems to inhabit the work of people who do those extraordinary things. Her heroines were Suzanne Aubert, Mother Theresa, Therese of Avila and all i can imagine is that those women will be scooting over on the couch about now. There is a place for her in their company.
They just better prepare to be shook up. Questioned. Maybe organised.
And meanwhile down here, the echo of her is ringing out. It is strong in her children whom she truly treasured. It is strong in her friends. In her colleagues. A legacy of Love.
Hers is the kind of echo that will never go away. She made a strong enough ring of her bell to ensure that never happens.