She had the grace and elegance that made you think of women from another time. She was a force and hard to ignore.
When the cardio doctor asked me questions about her I said she could be brittle. He laughed and said, “Yes she can be.” I explained that came because she could barely see and was hard of hearing. “That makes sense” he replied.
I felt it was my duty to speak up for her. It was the last thing I would do for Elaine.
She lived downstairs and we would often cross paths in the laundry room. It’s a small apartment building so you got to know the other tenants. She was surprised to hear I was running in the civic election. She donated to my campaign and was thrilled when I won. I was thrilled with the joy it gave her.
We didn’t know each other well but always said hello in the hall.
Then one day she asked for my help. That day cemented a friendship. I never knew her well, never really knew anything about her, but she grew to know that if she called I could be down at her place in minutes.
Fix a toilet, write a cheque, talk to the landlord. Just little things. But it always ended with a joke and a laugh.
Tibetan Buddhism reminds us that true generosity is giving what is required.
I will keep reminding you that I didn’t really know Elaine. But we always giggled at life’s crazy ways. She had the best laugh!
Elaine called in a panic two weeks ago. I raced down to her place and called 911. I held her hand and told her not to worry because I would take care of things. It was the last thing I would say to her. She passed away four days later.
The truth is that I’ve learned more about Elaine since she’s been gone. She left a big imprint.
Why am I telling you this? Maybe it’s to remind myself that we all might need help one day.
And maybe even more important, I wish you could have heard Elaine’s incredible laugh.