It may seem odd to start a New Year brimming full of new adventures, ideas and resolutions, and speak about death, but 2016 has had the greatest outgoing of bodies and souls that I can ever remember. Singers, actors, and other notable beings have transitioned to another plane, along with, and more personally for me, a friend.
I am feeling a tremendous and profound loss for a woman I’ve known for the better part of my life to the dreaded and loathed, “C” word. I don’t even want to speak its name anymore. Like Voldemort, it creates such fear as to make one cower. Rather than simply being a disease, it has become synonymous with fear. It is a living breathing monstrous creature from the depths of hell; a true minion of destruction, vileness and evil. It’s personal.
I daresay, there hasn’t been a human being on this planet that has not been touched by its insidious, insinuating, intrusive and deadly hand. And it’s not because it brings death, we must all die, but because it lives and thrives on human suffering. Its nature is to torture. It cripples, it weakens. It wants us to be defined by its presence. It is sadistic! BUT . . . it cannot, and will not, have the last word.
I leave you now with hope ~
EULOGY FOR CAROLYN LOCKWOOD NYKILCHUK
Like a lot of you, I first met Carolyn through our Kalyna family.
I will never forget the first time she and I ever spoke. It was actually at Camp Sokil, Hawkestone. She introduced herself to me and said that her dad was the conductor of the St. Demetrius choir, and had sent her over to ask me if I would consider singing for him. I hemmed and hawed for a moment, and then she just smiled at me and said, “I think you should say yes because my dad won’t take “no,” for an answer.
At that moment, when she smiled, I thought she was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen. She looked like an angel – soft wispy blonde hair, twinkling blue eyes, and that smile, that lit up everything around her. She always looked that way, in what I like to call, “a constant state of glow.”
When I told her how gorgeous she was, she seemed surprised. She made a funny face, and shook her head as if to say, what, me? And even though she seemed completely unaware and uncaring of her beauty, she received the compliment, graciously.
As I got to know Carolyn better, I began to see where the beauty every one of us witnessed on the outside, came from … it radiated from deep within. She was as loving, as kind hearted, and as beautiful a soul that has ever graced this earth. But, it wasn’t just her kindness and love of people that made her special. She had a tremendous love of animals, especially dogs, and as Gilda Radner said, “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
It must be true because Carolyn exuded a natural reticent joy and an unconditional acceptance of everyone. I never heard her speak an unkind word.
You simply couldn’t be unhappy in her presence.
If you didn’t know Carolyn, you might think that she is being thought of especially fondly today because she is no longer in this physical plane, but to those of us who knew her, even superficially, know these words describe her to a tee. For those who knew her intimately as daughter, sister, wife, mom, aunt, and friend to so many here tonight, you know these words couldn’t be truer.
For all of us who forged a bond with Carolyn, be comforted, that bond will never, and can never, be broken.
For those of us who love her, that love continues.
Death is only a word. We created it to help us make sense of physical loss.
As humans, we are comfortable with tangibles; tasting, seeing, touching, but, it’s only the intangibles; kindness, caring, compassion and love that NEVER die.
Look around you. We are all here tonight because of love. We are here because SHE loved us, or moved and touched us in some very special way. We are here to honour and celebrate Carolyn’s indomitable spirit. When we remember her, we won’t focus on the disease that took her from us, but on the soul who brought us joy, kindness, unconditional acceptance, and love.
She has simply moved from the finite to the infinite, from the temporary to the eternal. All that she was, she still is.
I was privileged to know her, and although we journeyed together for only a whisper of a moment in the great scheme of things, she will never be forgotten. Her essence is forever indelibly imprinted on my heart, as I know it is on yours.
Tim told me that she didn’t want us to be sad, but, rather celebrate her life.
So, Carolyn, Happy Resurrection Day, my friend! May you be dancing in the Light.