I have written about my friend Elizabeth on a couple of occasions, one post about a trip we took together seven months before she died (Why Miss the Moment) and another which was a reminiscence after her memorial service (Where the Angels Live | Lullaby for a Friend). But today, I am reblogging a post from OK Everybody Let’s Get Organized, the website that serves as a memorial to her life and legacy, because today I want you to hear from her in her own words. [Photo credit: Elizabeth Alling Sewall © 2008]

In some respects, the talk she gave at a Sunday community chapel service on Martha’s Vineyard almost 12 years ago seems suspended in time. It captures the freshness of the assault on our collective sense of security in the first year after the 9/11 attacks and the freshness of the trauma to her personal sense of security as she underwent treatment for breast cancer for the first time. And yet, the essence of her talk is a timeless message of wisdom and truth that is worthy of listening to again and again.

OK, Everybody! Let's Get Organized!

I’d like to invite you to join me in a time breeze. What’s that you ask? Read on and find out. In May of last year, Lolli Leeson, a friend of Elizabeth’s, posted the following request here at the OKELGO website:

“I would love to have you put the words Elizabeth wrote for the West Chop church service here– she gave the sermon after her first round of cancer. I have never forgotten what she said. Could you possibly post that, too? Thank you.”

I thought it was a fantastic idea because I remembered the talk, as well, not from having been present myself but from reading the copy she sent me afterwards. Delivering her remarks just a month shy of the first anniversary of 9/11 and just a few months before she was to complete treatment for her first breast cancer, Elizabeth uses a year’s worth of questions from…

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4 Comments on “A Time Breeze

  1. Thanks for sharing Elizabeth’s words, Lucy. I actually think I’ve read them before – they seemed so familiar. She really invited everyone in, didn’t she? And spoke almost nothing of herself. You really have a treasure in her memory.

    • Kris, that’s a great way to describe Elizabeth: “she really invited everyone in.” Like you, I was struck by how she took her own personal feeling of security being invaded by breast cancer and broadened it using the 9/11 attacks that shook our collective sense of security. She made the story far bigger than herself and, in doing so, captured the heart of her listeners (and now readers) in a way that connects us all so beautifully. Thanks for being a faithful reader here. Hugs!

  2. Thank you for my “church service” this Sunday morning. To Lucy….and to Elizabeth. Very touched and my heart is filled with all of the thoughts and feelings inherent and implicit in the sharing.

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