(My beloved niece Seana passed from this life to the next on May 19, 2012. Ovarian Cancer took her life. She was only 31 years old. Over the next while I will share the thoughts that I recorded during the time before and after Seana’s death. I invite you to join me as I share what was on my heart, and also pay tribute to my niece, and to her family.)
I wrote this for the Memorial Service celebrating the life of my dear niece Seana, which was held on Wednesday, May, 23, 2012.
As Seana’s aunt I have many wonderful memories of her and of times spent together.
I remember the early days; I remember sleepovers at our place with Seana’s sisters – laughter and giggles and popcorn and movies. And candy, lots and lots of candy (much to her parents dismay).
I remember her as a teenager, a young lady and then a beautiful young woman. When Auntie Sue would come to town, we would have a “girl’s night”, all the nieces and their doting aunties. Oh, the laughter, the hilarity, the fun.
Then six years ago – the call that came from John. I remember the shock, the dismay, and the anguish when he said that Seana had cancer.
I remember then, the fresh depth of my relationship with Seana. The dinners out, the visits, the heart to heart talks. I remember the Jane Austen movie nights with Seana, Celeste and Selena, building moments and memories together.
Florence Nightingale once said, “ Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. For the greatest things grow by God’s Law out of the smallest.” And this was the way Seana approached life, as a “splendid gift indeed.” She grasped life with both hands tore the wrapping paper away and undid the ribbons
Seana lived life deliberate intention, with determination and with vivid, vibrant hope.
You could see it in the way her beautiful brown eyes sparkled, the way she loved adventure, the way she would snowboard with wild abandon, the way she played.
You could see it in the way she loved. The way she listened, the thoughtful and intelligent way she would enter into discussions. You could see it in the way she yearned to make each moment count.
You could see it in the way she loved Vincent, wholly and with her whole heart. The twinkle in her eyes, the way looks would pass between them. The way they were attuned to one another. He was and is a gift to Seana and to our family. I honour and offer respect to you today Vincent for your loving dedication, your unfailing devotion and tenderhearted care of Seana.
I also want to honour, you, John, and you, Gail for the extraordinary nurturing way you have walked this journey with Seana. The tenderness, the lovingkindness – the way you sought to make times with Seana deep and meaningful. You did not waste one moment. Celeste and Selena, how well you have loved your sister – with joy, with compassion and with the utmost of caring. Markuu and Jesse you have been brothers to Seana, I know she valued each of you. Ryder and Easton, have lost a beloved aunt who delighted in them.
When the cancer skied, careening downhill, you could see Seana’s strength and indomitability grow. Although she was in pain beyond reckoning, she purposed to go out, to babysit her nephews, to see the latest movie with her Dad and sisters, to go the spa with her Mom – that is who she was.
Seana expressed heartfelt concern about those she loved and I quote, “I don’t want to get really sick and burden those I love,…. I don’t want to leave sweet Vincent, or my family, I want to see Ryder grow up, … I want to meet my other nieces and nephew, (and) … I’d like to help care for my parents when they get old, and so on, and on, and on… “
Fight and faith
So, Seana fought cancer with every single, fibre of her being. She researched, exercised, changed her diet, found positive ways of thinking. She did it all. I have encountered none other more courageous or more brave than Seana.
She did not let go of faith. Her faith, it shone – a bright star. Yes, she had questions and queries. And God was and is big enough for that. I know that; and believe it with all of my heart.
No more suffering
I am so very thankful that she no longer suffers, that she is with Jesus where – “He will wipe every tear from (her) eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev. 21:4
But here/now we grieve the loss of one whom we love so very, very much… As Karl Barth said, “There will be no song on our lips if there be no anguish in our hearts.” You cannot lose someone like Seana and not be changed forever.
Mourning and celebration
Yet, today as we mourn we celebrate Seana too. The way Seana faced the great grief of the losses associated with her disease, the way she exhibited great grace and graciousness in the way she lived her life and now, we celebrate the great glory she has entered into. And we look forward to the day when face to face we can see and be with Seana once again.
Until then Seana you are missed – always. I love you.
Part one in this series:
Part two in this series:
Part three in this series:
Part four in this series: