I’ve been awash in grief and gratitude for the past few weeks after I learned of the passing of a friend.

I received the sad, surprising news about my friend and seminary classmate last month. After the shock settled, I revisited memories of this special person I met nine years ago when we started school together.

I’ve spent days trying to come up with a way to describe what a special person she was, and the words fail me every time. But I think that’s fairly common, isn’t it? When we befriend people, when we make room for them in our hearts, they become uniquely personal to us. No one knew them quite the way we did because no one was quite the way we were. So when a friend leaves the world for parts unknown, we’re left to fill them in, to flesh them out with words.

Cordy Mack was a Unity minister, a deeply compassionate person who tried to bear the weight of the world’s pain on her small shoulders. She loved to laugh and had an infectious giggle. Cordy loved animals, especially her cats. She was generous and giving, but she could be sassy and even a little cranky. All these things are true, and at the same time they don’t adequately describe her.

And they’re only part of what I think of when I remember the sound of her voice or the look of her purple hair. I remember her kindness and thoughtfulness and the conversations we shared. I remember feeling happy to see her and being grateful for the ways she would ease the stress of too much schoolwork with her humorous comments and fun asides.

After school ended, we lived far away from each other and communicated mostly by text message. I missed her and often hoped our paths would cross. I’m sad to know I won’t see her face or hear her voice again, but I’m grateful I have so many sweet memories of her.

Newly ordained ministers, Rev. Teresa Burton and Rev. Cordy Mack, June 2018
Newly ordained ministers, Rev. Teresa Burton and Rev. Cordy Mack, June 2018

And now I’m left to wonder about all the things that went unsaid. Did Cordy know I admired her for all she had overcome? Did she know I marveled at her loving, compassionate heart? Did she know I thought of her often? Did she know I remembered the things she said in class years ago and that they still made me smile and laugh? Did she know that I missed her? Did she know that I loved her?

At this point, all I can do is hope she did. Our last communication was in late December, around the time of her birthday. She told me she had been ill. She didn’t elaborate, and I didn’t ask. If I had known it would be the last time we’d be in touch, what would I have told her?

I think I know. I would have told her all those things and more. I would have told her I had never met anyone quite like her. I would have thanked her for making my life richer and more fun.

I doubt Cordy could have known it, but she gave me a gift. She has made me aware of how important it is not to keep words unexpressed, not to be lulled into thinking there will always be time, and not to assume the people who are special to us know how we feel about them.

I invite you to learn this lesson too. Make the calls and the visits. Say the words. And enjoy and be grateful for the memories.

About the Author

Rev. Teresa Burton is editor of Daily Word® magazine. An inspiring writer and dynamic speaker, Burton brings clarity and fresh insights to spiritual Truth. Before answering the call to ministry, she worked for more than 25 years as an editor in various capacities in print and digital publishing.


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