Not very long ago, I wrote about a friend who was in the final stages of cancer. She passed away Saturday evening. Toni was a member of my online writer's group, but we had met in person at one of our conferences. With the constant back and forth of our online group, we were true friends. She was full of spirit, humor, had a thirst to learn all she could about writing. She left an unfinished novel and an almost-finished coffee table book that was scheduled to go to print next month. Hopefully, that will happen.
She wrote periodically about her journey through the world of disease and all the ills that accompanied it. She did it with a positive spin, tossing in a bit of humor here and there. She left those of us who read it in awe of her strength, her faith, and her optimism. She showed us how a decimating illness should be approached. She shared her inner thoughts, the kindness of her family, friends and the many doctors she consulted. As a result, we walked this path with her to almost the end.
She will be missed in her home state of Georgia and to her writer friends who span the globe. She often mentioned a small amount of Native American blood in her family ancestry. I found a poem that seems an appropriate tribute to her. The poem has also been titled "Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep" but for Toni this one is just right.
Native American Prayer
I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone -
I am with you still - in each new dawn.