Some People Glow…
At 1:00 this afternoon, a group of coworkers gathered in the courtyard of the National Children’s Advocacy Center to pay tribute to a woman who spent years touching the lives of children and families. After a long battle with cancer, she slipped away at the beginning of April.
I didn’t know Yvette well. I have been here almost a year, and I think the first time I saw her was at a training in our building in July. I didn’t know who the petite woman who was impeccably dressed and full of energy was, but she had a glow. Some people just do. There are some people you like before you even meet them because you can feel the love and energy from across a room. It wasn’t until she retired a few months later that I heard stories and memories and all sorts of amazing things about the woman who spent years as the training outreach coordinator of the Southern Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. Again, her glow filled the room.
Here in the training department, we do recordings from time to time, and speakers come in to share their knowledge and experience on camera. In December, Jim Holler, a retired officer who speaks around the country on child abuse and safety, came to record several presentations. As we were about to begin, the fire alarm went off, and we all had to exit the buildings. Of course, the fire alarms were known to go off for no reason, and we took our sweet time, all the while being scolded by Jim (a former firefighter) for lollygagging. Turned out that Yvette had burned a bagel on her last day of work. She said she wanted to go out with a bang. There were smiles and laughter. In February, we had more experts in to record training, and while they were here, Yvette dropped by to say hello. The three guests hugged her and regaled her with questions and conversation. After she left, I listened as they talked about how wonderful she was, and I was struck again by the impact she seemed to have on everyone who knew her.
This afternoon as people shared memories, tears flowed, and rain began to drizzle (some said it was Yvette watering her tree), there was that glow of love again. And now every year in the spring a vibrant pink dogwood will bloom in celebration of the lives she helped to change. It was a fitting tribute. As the leader of the SRCAC bent to spread some of Yvette’s ashes around the beautiful tree, I couldn’t help but think of the verse that says, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”
Not everyone gets to work somewhere so full of people who exude care, who feel like family, and who have a passion for what they do every day. Yvette absolutely had that passion, and so do the people I saw standing in the courtyard. I have no idea how I got fortunate enough to be included, but I am thankful.