The saying that bad things happen in threes is not true* and I still felt it recently. Three women I’ve known to varying degrees died in a 6 week period before the New Year, all taken by cancer.
The first was my friend’s Mom. I met her a few times, she was not a talkative woman (then neither was I) and I felt her care and compassion through her deep eyes. She was a pioneer, being a hijab-wearing, female doctor in a time and place where that was not common (and maybe not even common now actually). She was loving, strong, thoughtful and compassionate.
The 2nd was my ex-mother-in-law, Mary. A private, strong-willed, generous, and stubborn woman. She will be missed by many, including the neighbourhood dogs and cats who she regularly talked to, fed and petted as if they were her own. She meticulously tended her garden even through her illness, an activity that brought her so much joy and embraced her home.
Last was my 2nd cousin, Marjorie. A creative, open, opinionated, and strong woman. I’ll remember her for so many things, a few being:
- fostering her youngest daughter’s love of horses, driving her all over North America in support of her passion,
- her unspoken generosity in having my Mum visit her most days, in my Mum’s final years as Alzheimer’s was taking hold, Marjorie had her over and together they tended the large garden for hours each day,
- her creativity – in calligraphy, painting and so much more – the hours she practiced and studied to learn. And the number of times she repainted her kitchen cupboards!
* It’s actually a human psychology theory called the clustering illusion. We try and make meaning out of random things. So why do we say 3 bad things rather than 5 for example? The rule of 3 is a typical rule in Western literature, most plays, narratives and books are written in 3 parts – introduce the characters, develop the characters through an intriguing plot of angst and uncertainty, and then conclusion or resolution of the angst. Think of the 3 Little Pigs or Goldilocks and the 3 Bears. There’s also religious importance to 3 in Christian and Hebrew studies.
What is the legacy you are working towards each day?