This weekend Daved and I traveled to North Carolina to say goodbye to his dear Aunt Dacia. She had passed away early in the week. She was just 84.
Dacia had visited us this time last year...hopped on a plane in Greensboro, flew to Indianapolis to spend time with her sister, Dora, then on to Dayton to visit us, then back home to Greensboro. At 83.
She was an artist and an art teacher in the earlier days of her life. In the later years she devoted her time (among many other things) to being a food activist. After suffering a stroke this past year, Dacia spent time in a nursing home. When the occupational therapist came to interview Dacia about her interests, she told the therapist that she was a food advocate. Apparently the therapist didn't quite know what to do with that bit of information. Thank goodness for the artist/art teacher part of her life, as the therapist DID have a list on her chart that included arts and crafts.
Dacia led what I would call an 'unboxed' life.
She appeared traditional, always dressed perfectly, always put together, involved in all the traditional organizations: church, education, arts... you name it, she participated. But the way she could float with the traditions and still keep her sense of open mindedness and wonder, was truly magical. She was our little bird that bobbed from one thing to the next, celebrating each moment with an uncanny awareness. She allowed for each moment to be itself, letting it lift her to the next moment. How else can one be so happy to get a parking space? She expected nothing, but appreciated everything.
As we visited with friends and family at her goodbye service, one thing that struck me was a statement I heard over and over: "Dacia told me all about you." This is what almost everyone said to everyone. Dacia had a head for details, and she shared those details whenever she had a chance. I know more about some of her friends (all good things, she never dissed) than I may know about my own friends. Dacia participated in connecting one person to another in such a way, that it seemed she had a needle and thread, and sewed us all together. There are powerful stories about Dacia hooking people together in the most mysterious ways. Yet, when one would try and credit her in any way, she seemed surprised and almost unable to see it.
Little (all of 100 pounds or less) and large (her energy is far reaching), soft (her voice was very tiny) and strong (her passions unwavering), patient (always a listener) and tenacious (fiercely optimistic, and yes, stubborn). Dacia was a lovely walking paradox. We won't be missing her as she won't be gone. She is there in all the connections she made. Our little bird has flown, but she is definitely still hovering.