A lot of talk today is going to be out there about the death of bin Laden. Last night the world lost, besides a terrorist, a wonderful woman. The mother of my best friend. So forgive me if the word of bin Laden's death doesn't excite me. At this moment I am in mourning for someone far greater.
Leona had a good but tough life. She had three great kids and two wonderful husbands. She lost her son when he was nineteen. She lost her first husband about 10 years ago. I'm sure she was welcomed by both as she gave her last breath, and I'm sure it was a beautiful reunion.
I also know that the pain left behind will be hard to soothe, except for the fact that she's not fighting for her life and in pain any longer. She left two daughters, a husband and three grandchildren. She left them with a legacy of fighting the good fight with grace and dignity and knowing when to let go.
My memories of Leona are selfish. I remember when my own child was very young and she lived across the driveway. She would take my daughter and sit outside and watch her play. We would talk and drink tea or coffee and my daughter called her "Gramma" just as if she were her very own.
I remember when her son died she told me he loved me. That he had talked about me all the time. I held on to that for so long. I still do, and I have no doubt that she is finally able to look upon his face and smile.
I remember her relationship with her daughters and how close she was with them. I tried to follow her example with mine. I'm still working on it.
I'm glad she's not in pain any longer. I'm glad she's able to be with her son again. But I mourn for the pain that will be in her children's homes for a while. I mourn that her grand children's memories will fade in time and she'll be a distant memory in the not so distant future. I mourn that her daughters have become orphans overnight.
And I mourn that I wasn't there for my friend at that moment when she needed someone. She had friends and family around her, but I wasn't one of them. A phone call here and there, and I meant to call this past weekend and then life happened and I never got near the phone. And then death happened.
So my dear cyber friends, I am going to go take a shower and then I'm going to make a phone call.
Rest in peace Leona. You will be missed and remembered.