Monday, April 11, 2011

Indigo Sweetwater: like the ripples in a pond ...

It's funny, in almost 20 years of ordained ministry, I have presided over dozens of memorial and funeral services ranging from the very young, to the very old, and every age in between ... Over and over, I've been struck by the breadth of impact each life has had regardless of its length.

People who have lived into a second century leave a profound legacy of family, and friends to truly celebrate their lives and give thanks for the many years they've had together.

Families who have bid adieu to young ones, gather to mourn the loss of what might have been, but simultaneously to affirm the preciousness of what has already been.

Regardless of the length we spend upon this planet, we touch the lives of those who we chose to surround ourselves with. We are, like a Jewish writer once observed, the very finger prints of God, leaving our impressions upon every surface we touch, even if that touch is simply fleeting.

This week, I've been amazed at the tributes to my friend Indigo Sweetwater, who passed away too suddenly, and too soon from a recurrence of cancer. At first I felt a pang of jealousy at the tributes being offered by people who openly lamented "I never met her in person, but ..." But then, I realized that there was more than enough of Indigo to go around.

She was truly a person who was larger than life ... her passions and enthusiasms knew NO BOUNDS, and her interests lead her to some absolutely fascinating places both in the real world and in cyber-space. AND, wherever she went she left an indelible impression on the lives of those she touched.

It brought laughter and tears to my eyes to hear about her "parcels" sent unannounced to her new-found friends. I recalled a time when our post man came walking up to our front door with a small blue and cream coloured suit case in hand. I opened the door to meet him and asked:

"You moving in?"

With a stern face, perhaps to keep from laughing, he handed me the suitcase with a terse, "Um, no ..." then he shook his head and walked away.

It was of course a parcel from Indigo to the kids ... and, it was a scenario that was played out again a few short months later when a small green suitcase arrived in the same way.

And then there was the globe: taped, labelled, and stuffed FULL of treasures gleaned from her travels ... rubber maid tubs sent by bus and labelled with some picturesque paper doing far more than simply listing the 'to' and 'from' ... over and over, parcels bursting with 'treasures' arrived unexpectedly - usually when Indigo sensed you just needed a pick me up - and the phone call to thank her was punctuated by her uproarious laughter as you recounted the tale of arrival.

I think the heartiest laughter though came when she was told about the arrival of the first suitcase ...

Along the way, Indigo also helped teach and affirm some important life lessons. The loss of her young son many years ago forged a compassionate heart that knew life could be cruel sometimes ... The counsel I remember most clearly from her was the repeated affirmation that we should never engage in the folly of 'the woulda, shoulda, coulda's'.

"Look forward" was the advice she offered, usually after listening to the inevitable rant I could offer ... "look forward" and "stop dwelling on the past" she would say with a dismissiveness that was anything but dismissive.

She knew the journey well ... and she wasn't afraid to tell you when you'd wandered off the path and were wallowing in some bramble filled pit of despair.

But she ALWAYS did it with a love that embraced and enveloped you ... it was just the way she was.

The bottom line was that Indigo really didn't care whether you liked her or not. She liked herself, and she liked you and the rest was truly and utterly IRRELEVANT. Take her or leave her, she didn't care - she'd be there when you smartened up and came back ... and she'd accept you like you'd never left (unless of course you really pissed her off ... thankfully I never fell afoul of her in that way!!).

I will also dearly miss the annual Birthday parcels and prezzies that have arrived over the last decade and a half since I first met Indigo and learned that we shared a common Scorpio Birthday on October 31st ... this year just won't be the same without her around!!

Today, I've had some time to think about what losing Indigo means in my life, and have come to realize that even though she is gone from this physical plane, she now remains a formidable force in the lives of those who knew her on a spiritual plane ... she embodies the teachings the Nuxalkmc elders offered over tea in the CE Hall of the old Emmanuel Church almost two decades ago when they said "when we die, we join the Spirit World, which is as far away as our next breath and as close as the wind on our cheeks!!"

Today, Indigo has returned to the energy that is the cosmos, but like ripples on a pond her influence and impact is still felt among those of us truly blessed to have called her a friend, either in person, or from a distant (to Indigo a friend was a friend and that was ALL that mattered).

While our loss pales in comparison to her partner and spouse David and her beloved and cherished adult son Yancey, together we mourn and celebrate a remarkable woman, an amazing friend, and a potent force for ALL the good that life has to offer.

Thanks for gracing my life, and that of my family with your friendship Auntie Indigo - we will never forget you, and we will never stop loving you !!

We know you aren't very far away ... Shalom!!

To read another beautiful and eloquent tribute to Indigo click here to visit the Blog "The Adventures of Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan in Faro Yukon"

1 comment:

Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

I came back to your blog today, and am glad I did! What a wonderful post. Thank you for passing on the advice she shared with you. I need to put her advice to work now- look forward.