Unbelievable that it has been 5 years since I gave this eulogy:
It's funny, I say funny, for lack of a better word, that life often times brings you things that you didn't know you needed. Things that you were missing, without feeling the loss. That is until those same things are lost to you. I guess that's love. I guess that is how we realize we love somebody; in that moment that you realize that your life will never be the same without them in it. It is the broken-heartedness that happens when they leave us. All love, the love of a partner, of our families, of our friends and of our pets, makes us weak. And yet, it is unavoidable. And funny again, that we will keep loving, despite the pain of it's loss.
So today, I am lamenting a lost love. The love of my friend, Linda Vincent. Linda was that something that Victoria Manor didn't know it needed, didn't know it was missing, until she and Bailey came to stay.
Victoria Manor is a rest home, or for those of you unfamiliar with rest homes, it is an assisted living home for people with diverse physical and mental health issues. I am the Administrator of Victoria Manor. Linda came to us a couple of years ago when her health made it too difficult for her to remain on her own. The roads leading into Victoria Manor are all challenging. No one comes to a rest home without having travelled a while, on private journeys that oftentimes seem impossible to have been endured. Sometimes the toll it takes is often irreparable and all we can do as Staff is meet them where they have fallen. When Linda arrived at our door, she was no less weary then the other 85 individuals who live at Victoria Manor, but she was resilient, and she became a leader, an advocate.
If you are here today it is because you cared for Linda, or perhaps it is because you care for those who cared for her. And maybe you know already these things I will tell you next, but I want to tell them anyway. I want to tell you about her infectious laugh, how her laugh was loud and boisterous, and when she was well, how it came often and resonated in our halls.
I want to tell you about her heart. About her devotion to those people marginalized by society because of their disease, their diagnosis or for their choices. She advocated tirelessly for the Residents at Victoria Manor, she brought change we didn't know was needed. Sometimes, we needed to see that simply because something had been done one way for years didn't make it right. We needed, on occasion, to be reminded that we were in the business of caring for people, sometimes having lost sight of the people. Sometimes the lessons she taught us were difficult. But they were important, and I am better for having learned them.
I want to tell you about her friendship. How she was my cheerleader and my advisor. She gave me insight because of her professional experience that often helped me design care plans for my Residents. We talked often, about everything. She was witty, even at the worst of times, we would laugh, knowing, it could always be worse. And we were inappropriate, which was funny, and honest, and gave oft-needed perspective. She advocated for me too, and for my Staff. She was my cheerleader as much as she was my teacher.
I did not know when I met Linda that her departure would leave in me such a gaping hole. I couldn't have known that I would miss her laugh, miss our talks. Here has come that unavoidable heart break, the cost to us is great. But given the choice I would pay this price and more again to have had the great honour of loving Linda Vincent.