In December, 1982, I met an inspiring lady for the first time. Tim’s aunt Evelyn, born in 1923, has travelled the world solo including Bermuda (21 times!), Europe, Scandanavia, Hawaii, and the Yukon; moved across the country to work in rural British Columbia in 1960, and worked at the United Church for 32 years. In all of those adventures and beyond, she took care of herself and others.

This week, she took a fall that has stalled her independent march and she now has to rely on others for things she has always done for herself. It’s a tough adjustment. She has faced it as she faces everything – with determination.

Everywhere I have been in her nursing home this week, people ask after her and they tell me stories of her many kindnesses and quirks. It’s been nice to get to know her from the perspective of those she lives with everyday.

When I saw the poem below, I thought of Evelyn, not only because it’s titled ‘Prayer’ and Evelyn is a very religious person, but because although overall her demeanor is quiet, she must have been considered ‘frisky’ and ‘risque’ at those times that she defied what women ‘were supposed to do’. I’ve never seen her dance, but I’m sure she’s cut a rug or two in her day.

Prayer, by Mary Oliver

May I never not be frisky,

May I never not be risqué.

May my ashes, when you have them, friend,

and give them to the ocean,

leap in the froth of the waves,

still loving movement,

still ready, beyond all else,

to dance for the world.

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