She was my idol when I was a young child, a source of ‘bragging rights’ among my friends. She was a ballet dancer with Theatre under the Stars, danced with Robert Goulet, appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, danced for five years with the June Taylor Dancers on the Jackie Gleason Show. Her name was Anita, and she was my eldest cousin, the daughter of my maternal aunt.
After the dancing came the storybook romance. As she told me just recently, they saw each other across a crowded room and instantly they knew they were meant to be together. He knew she was the woman he was going to marry. She felt they had always known each other. They married and lived happily ever after. They had what sociologists call a ‘total relationship’ – deeply in love throughout their lives, working together, playing together, each other’s very best friend and closest confidante.
Nineteen years ago, when Anita was sixty, Dick passed away. Anita continued to feel him near, as she moved from
Nevada to Colorado,
rode horses, hiked long steep mountain trails, hauled her fifth wheel (and
later her motorhome) across the country on
treks. She was adventuresome and full of
courage and positive energy. Just being
around her brought smiles to our faces and a wonderful feeling of warmth and
joy. Elder College
A few years ago, she moved to
to be closer to the small kin group she had left – her two siblings plus my family,
all living in southern BC. She visited
mom often, called us all regularly, joined us for family gatherings, came to
visit me on the island. She was fit and healthy and looked twenty
years younger than her birth certificate showed. Washington State
And then, in October, she was diagnosed with end-stage pancreatic cancer. Boom.
In typical Anita fashion, she took it in stride. She believed our time here on earth is just a very small part of a much larger journey, and the best is yet to come. She mentioned often, these past few weeks, how excited she was, how much she looked forward to the next stage of the journey, to seeing her beloved husband again. She put her affairs in order, was able to stay in her own home with the help of hospice, spoke with us all regularly, told us each that she loved us.
This morning, with her sister by her side, she left on her next great adventure. And we shall all miss her so very much.
Love you, Anita. Your joyful spirit truly inspires.
(Note: There is a little footnote to this entry......... And tomorrow I shall introduce her to you. )