Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Unfinished Painting

This weekend I attended the funeral/memorial service for a friend. She was just 50 – far too young to have died – yet she had packed a lot into her life and firmly believed life was for living.

We first met years ago when she was a social worker, working mainly with women in abusive situations. Frustrated with the legal system and its disservice to women, she went back to school to become a lawyer and mediator.

When her son spoke at her service, he joked that his friends all said his mom must be loaded because she was a lawyer. Everyone there laughed, because one thing Ascenza wasn’t - was rich. She chose to support the underdog, the immigrant family who could not afford a lawyer, or the single mom fighting the system. No – she certainly wasn’t in it for the money.

As many of you may recall, we had quite the snowstorm on Saturday, but the chapel at the funeral home was packed and many of those there were people she had helped.

But it is interesting no matter how much you think you know someone, there’s always something new to learn. Sadly often at their funeral. In this instance, I never knew that Ascenza was an accomplished artist. Many of her paintings were on display, and like everything else she did, they were good.

It was somewhat poignant to see one unfinished painting – because to me it symbolized how she’d been snatched away from us before she was done.

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