She was my piano teacher for 10 years (or more!), encourager, mentor, dear friend, and sister in the Lord. When I look back on my growing up years, she stands out as one who had a significant impact on my life.
I have known her my entire life and always felt we had a special bond, fellowshipping together in a very small church and sharing a love for music. It is evident she formed special friendships with many, many people because that's just the kind of person she was...incredibly caring and selflessly invested in others :-). She was a gifted musician and teacher and encouraged me to use whatever gifts I have been given for the glory of God. When I wanted to leave Royal Conservatory behind for awhile, she supported me in whatever music I was interested in learning at the time (improvising hymns and playing worship music, for example). Then when I decided I wanted to pick up classical music again, she was my biggest cheerleader as I studied for my piano exam. Often she would get a few of us girls together in the church and have us sing special songs for Christmas programs and things, and we had so much fun. One of my favourite things she helped organize and invited me to be part of was a performance of the broadway song "Food Glorious Food" from Oliver Twist for the music festival.
I am exceedingly grateful that she took the time to invest in my life as a young girl & woman growing up. Full of compassion, kindness, and grace, she truly lived out the gospel, deeply caring for those whom society often ignores. An advocate for those with disabilities, she was incredibly compassionate and dedicated to her own daughter's well-being and the well-being of so many others.
At her funeral, they played a recording of her playing Summer Sunday by Marie Andree-Ostiguy. It is one of my favourite modern piano compositions, and I had the pleasure of hearing her play it live many times. It was the song I chose for my bridesmaids to walk down the aisle to at my own wedding. Of course, she was the pianist at my wedding :-). It is still my dream to learn to play that song myself someday.
Going to the symphony together, sleepovers at her house, piano parties, church Christmas plays & ensembles, fun broadway songs she helped organize and invited me to be part of, lots and lots of laughs (her laugh was incredibly contagious), and spending hours choosing music together for my wedding are just some of the fond memories I have.
I miss her very, very much and look forward to when I will see her again in heaven when we can make music together again for His glory.