Everything has been done carefully… just full of care, because this is the human being from whom other humans came. This is the human being who held and nurtured and cared fully for us and our friends around us when we could not care fully for ourselves. This one knew how to create security, safety, home, interest, sensitivity, insight and passion for living, like she was magic. This was the human being who handed out the tools of identity every morning that let one know who one was, how to carry oneself and where one belonged so we could find our way back whenever the world’s feverishness or apathy carried us off.
Worth more than rubies, she tore up carpet and painted walls, refinished floors and guided the work of handymen on how it would be done. She designed roomfuls of beauty, never neglecting interiors, the exquisite nature of food, and the delight of the handmade and so she taught beauty into our souls. She collected drawings, stories, reports, written excuses, daily life souvenirs, and praises from teachers or friends or herself. She boxed them, preserved them long beyond others memories to be given into the hands of those she treasured so we could see how far we came. She gave us our history in tangible forms which only said, you matter, your worth cannot be forgotten and you have always been cherished. But what it actually told us was love and love and love and love.
The Lord had the chance to teach her soul how life works and so our wounds from the world, from choices, from almost inexplicable risks were each responded to but were never a higher priority than our selves. Our traumas were lived through and our embarrassments survived but falsity was faced with ferocity that outgrew her size. Friendship and loyalty were like her name in the voices of those who knew her.
Her frailties, limits and short-comings were all experienced, joked over, disregarded or endured. None of us pretended that what was there wasn’t actually what we were experiencing, but it was never a higher priority than her. And so today, these days, these years of gentle fading, these minutes of passing breath… have been handled carefully… full of care… for they provide us with a full flavor of faith, hope and love… and the fullest taste is love.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
From “Abide with Me” by Henry F. Lyte
Darlene Iola Flynn Kohler
October 10, 1925 – October 9, 2013