This portrait ends up being a tribute to a woman who recently passed away at the age of 92.
She crossed my path only briefly, but left an impression on me in that brief time. I took this picture, hoping to sit down and talk to her to get to know her better.
That never happened, but I wanted to share a little of what I do know about her.
She had 11 children, and was a foster parent to other children as well.
She experienced hard trials in her life, including losing a son in the Vietnam War, and being widowed — twice.
She was very service-oriented. She once talked about the many committees she was on, but I can’t remember them all. She kept a pace that would wear out the youngest and healthiest of us all!
She loved to dance, and was apparently dancing up until a couple of months before she died.
She loved her family so much. She often shared the latest happy news in the lives of her family. She had a running count on the rapid growth of her family, regularly sharing when another great-grandchild (or great-great grandchild) was born. (I wish I could remember how many she had at the last report.) You could feel the joy that her posterity brought her.
I knew her as a woman with a simple and strong faith. The more I heard her share from her life and heart, the more I realized how much her faith had been an anchor through very difficult times. And the more I admired her.
I feel honored I had the chance to know Pearl, and I offer my condolences to her family as they mourn her passing. But I imagine they are also rejoicing in a life well lived.
And I can’t help but imagine her dancing with joy at the reunions she is experiencing with loved ones who preceded her in death. I know she was looking forward to those reunions.
Rest in peace, Pearl. Thank you for your example of goodness, faith, love, and service to others.