Even in death, Lorraine Ennis was a rare and shining example of how to live. Lorraine Ennis became part of my extended family when she sort of adopted my niece and nephew, becoming their Auntie Lorraine – as I know she was for so many other young people.
Although my sister was far from her own family while she was raising her kids, I always knew they were fine at Christmas and Thanksgiving and other occasions because they would be sharing them with Auntie Lorraine.
A lot of questions remain this week. How could one of the world’s sharpest, most vibrant 78-yearolds could be absolutely, joyfully, safely present one moment while on her familiar 8-kilometre walk, and wiped out by a boat trailer the next? Struck down while walking, for her health, on a walking path away from traffic, while wearing a bright yellow reflective jacket so cars could see her – this is, as Sgt. Jeff Swann said, “unfathomable.”
But what I do know is that Lorraine Ennia, while she was here with us, was “fully alive” -I think that’s how her pastor, Miles White, put it. A woman of strong and simple Christian faith, she was devoted to family, to neighbours and friends.
She thought of others always, in simple and gracious ways, whether it was baking cookies for Young Life or graciously adorning the family row at a Terrace wedding, where I snapped a picture of her a few years back.
I look at that picture, a rose pinned to her dress, her warm eyes brimming with pride and joy, and I think even her picture has something to teach about agelessness.
When I pass that place by the road, I’m not going to focus on memories of the shock and tears I felt when I discovered the accident I stopped to cover had claimed the life of someone so locally beloved.
I’m going to focus on good memories, like one of her lovely dinners that coincided with my August birthday, or the memory of her watching her grandkids play with grandmaternal pride. Those are the kind of memories that warm and bring some measure of comfort.
I’m going to think about what she was doing the moments BEFORE she died: she was role modeling for me and for anyone who knew if they were late for work or not by how far along the trail she was.
She showed that even when faced with heartfelt loss, you can learn to smile again and savour the moment – and while you have breath, you can keep walking.
And so we will, too. Thanks, Lorraine. We miss you already. firstname.lastname@example.org