Ann Pickavet passed away sometime in the early morning hours
on the 15th of October. Heard the
news from Tez. I’m still in disbelief. I just spoke with her last Saturday and
we had talked about her singing the tenor part in the choir; the possibility of
her hiring an aide to go along with her for the Wednesday night rehearsals. And
now she’s gone. Felt sad listening to her voice on my voicemail, knowing that I
won’t be hearing from her again at least in this life.
I miss my friend.
She had a gruffness and spunkiness about her. A distinct
child-like naivette and wonder. What a blessing that she was prompted by the
holy spirit and followed that prompting to go for confession the past few weeks
just before her passing. I can just picture her going : “Get out of here!” when
she realizes she’s meeting our Lord and our Lady and finally seeing them face
to face. Dear Ann, what a wonder it must be. How strange to talk of you in the
past tense. Now you’re the one who must teach me all about the Lord. I miss
How swiftly and timely death comes for us all.
I still remember Ann asking me last Saturday if I wanted her
St. Teresa of Avila book, ie. the one she’d received in the mail by mistake.
She’d ordered a St. Therese of Lisieux book and received a
St. Teresa of Avila one by mistake. I’d told her that I wasn’t sure. Ann passed
away on the morning of the 15th of October and somehow that night, I
just wanted to check which feast day she’d passed away on. I googled and
discovered that she had passed away on the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila!
God has quite a plan, and a sense of humour to go along with it! I
was thinking to myself, you’ve got to be kidding me!
Just this year alone, 3 people I’ve been friends with at Our
Lady of Peace parish have passed away. It’s been a strange year. Yet it’s a
constant reminder to me to not leave things that need to be done, undone. Oh,
the things that we take for granted, the things that we hoard and hold dear.
Will we be able to take that with us?
I helped Cathi, Ann’s daughter, and Sandra, Ann’s aide, to
clear a little bit of Ann’s apartment yesterday. There’s a lot of stuff in her
little apartment. Cat Fancy magazines, bags of plastic bags folded into neat
little triangles, cards from people that she’d saved in a shoebox, newspaper
clippings, cat toys, and it made me ponder…what will I leave behind when my
time comes to go?
As it is, I have so much stuff…I have unfiled, bank account
statements, ASCAP statements, cheques waiting to be banked in, scraps of
information and coupons that I’ve left unorganized in some pile in a drawer,
stuffed toys in boxes that have accumulated dust from the years of being
untouched, clothes that haven’t been worn in years, underwear and socks with
holes in them…photos, tons of digital pictures left uncategorized…it would be
an absolute headache and mess for anyone to deal with, and I’d be embarrassed
about leaving those things behind; scraps of receipts from years gone,
documenting purchases of inane things like hairbands, sanitary pads, items left
There’s no turning back once we step through that death’s
door. No going back last minute to clear things up, to say goodbye, to give a
loved one, one last kiss. The saints got it right. They lived each day, each
moment as if it was their last.
For who knows the mind of God, the will of God except the
almighty Himself? So we should make haste to make hay while the sun still
It’s often in times too of a good friend or loved one’s
passing that we often regret not having given more, not in terms of material
things, but in terms of time. Time is the precious ‘commodity’ that can’t be
bought. Just like the sand that keeps trickling downwards in the hourglass till
it all empties out, our lives have a fixed number of days and nights. But I,
like most other people, often live not seeing or realizing this truth and life
more often than not lulls us with a false sense of security; telling us to clothe
ourselves with the belief that this earthly life is forever.
Lord, I want to end my procrastinating ways. I want to make
every single moment count and not let it become a blur. Can you help me with
this too, mother Mary?
I should change the title of my to do lists, from ‘Things to
do today’ to ‘What would I regret not doing if I died at the end of this day.’
Oh Lord, keep us vigilant. Help us to realize the brevity of
this gift of life.
As I rummaged through Ann’s papers, I found a little sealed envelope
with the handwritten words ‘KK’s first years’ on it and handed the envelope to
Ann’s daughter, Catherine.
Ann left behind little neat written notes documenting her
daughter, Cathi’s first years. It was touching to see Cathi opening up the
envelope to read her mother’s thoughts.
It got me wondering, what will I leave for Claire, so that
she knows how much her mummy loved her.
For sure, I’ll leave her my journals, and there will be
pictures, birthday cards, notes, letters; but truly what I’d like to leave,
won’t be tangible; I mean, what happens if all these journals were to be burnt
in an accidental fire, or lost, or damaged? What if all my pictures were
So often I try to make permanent, the fleeting moments of
our existence, I try to take a picture of moments I hope she’ll remember, like
the doll-house Kavin built out of building blocks, or moments we’ve shared a
table and a drink at Peets, or just moments where Claire is running around
dancing in her ballet outfit. My iphone and my computer have at least a
thousand photos of Claire and she’s just 3! So often I hope to make a permanent
memory with this technology, with pieces of paper!
But truly, the essence, the real goal in all this, is to
write, somehow write these memories, these moments in the cherished walls of
her heart, and in those recesses of her mind, where in quiet moments of
solitude, reflection, peace, sadness or joy, in those moments, I will be there
with her; long after I am gone. I think that is the hope of any one who has a
child or a friend or a lover. All one wants at the end of the day, is to be
remembered because ones’ life, one’s actions, one’s way of living, made a
I take comfort in the fact that scientists have confirmed
time and again, that our human brain is capable of storing so much information.
Much more than my measley macbook can.
I want to store the memories of love and sacrifice in the
walls of my brain, in the recesses of my mind and my heart. I want to write the
message of my love for Claire and for Kavin and for all my loved ones, on the
annals of their hearts and minds. For that is all we can hope for, for once
this material world vanishes, Love will be all that remains.
Love is our Alpha and it shall be our Omega. Love encompasses
all, and Love binds all and Love remains in all.
On a separate note, by extension, I think I now understand
better how God would like us to love Him and how He loves us. Just as I yearn
to clothe my loved ones with the memory of how I loved them, God longs for us
to know of His deep sacrificial love for us. He wants to write the message of
His love upon our very hearts…
“I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them
upon their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people.” (Hebrews