To Gabriele

Ken  Caryl Canyon

Gabriele died last week after a long illness. I have never met her, but thanks to her daughter, Suzanne at Walking Papers Blog, I feel like I have. For months, Suzanne has shared Gabriele’s journey, her prose interspersed with photos, poems and stories about her mom’s life, and finally, death. Stories about family. Photos of Gabriele and her daughters and grandchildren. In an unflinchingly frank journal, Suzanne shared the gritty details of a beloved family member’s gradual separation from this life and her step into the next.

As I read I sometimes laughed, sometimes cried, but always felt empathy for Suzanne and her family thousands of miles away, yet so close. And through it all, I relived my  own mom’s brief illness and death, recalling the good, the bad, and the journey of her life. Others felt the same way, as Suzanne’s journal brought friends and strangers together in a community of followers of the story of Gabriele.

The internet can be a monster  – it can sap us of our free time and energy, with cat videos, FB and endless news cycles. But it can be a blessing too, making us part of a community across a nation or across an ocean, bringing us together as we share our stories and making our world a smaller place.

I wish peace to Gabriele who is now at rest, and peace to all who trek through their own journey across this world that is not so big after all.

© Huffygirl 2013


19 thoughts on “To Gabriele

  1. Now I am crying again–but they are healthy tears. As I wrote this journal of my mom’s last months on earth, it was often my blog that helped me regain precarious balance, as each time I posted, a wave of love would come washing in to keep me from drowning in fear or grief. And the connection with both friends and strangers–and fellow bloggers who feel like friends even though we’ve never met–became a lifeline. My mom was so amazing–and whenever there came a hurdle we thought we might not get over I would ask her, “Can I write about it?” Her answer was always “yes.” She was always, until the very end, a teacher. Thanks, my friend, for this post. xoxo, Suzanne

  2. Thanks for this post, Donna, and for the link to Walking Papers Blog. My daughter’s name was also Gabriele and we called her Gaby. Sadly she passed away last July rather suddenly. Which maybe was a blessing for her. She was a quadriplegic with breathing difficulties. But she made the absolute most of her life. She had an immense will to live life to the full despite all her disabilities.

  3. Pingback: Gedanken zum Tod von Gabriele Rico | Jakobs Blog

  4. I will visit this blog soon—-I think I need a little more time to process the decline and death of my own mother before I do—-but thank you, Huffygirl for sharing its impact.

    • You are very welcome Bella. It is a lot to take in, and I followed the journey from the beginning, which kind of prepared me for the end. And the grief of my own parent’s deaths was more distant, which made it easier to follow Gabriele’s journey.

  5. This is a beautiful post Donna. You honor Gabriele and obviously warm Suzanne’s heart.
    Rest in peace with our Heavenly Father Gabriele. Suzanne, may you feel the warmth and love of Jesus holding you in His arms.

    Oh yes, I will check out Suzanne’s blog.

  6. Such a great post. I am going over to read now. And you know you are right sometimes this internet can be a bad but in this case so good. I think you said it just right.

    • Thanks LN. I sometimes wish I hadn’t started blogging and following blogs, because I know it uses up time I used to spend on other thing. But I’m glad for all the people I’ve met through blogging, and the stories I would have missed had I not been out here.

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