Jane died earlier in July. She was ninety-three. She has been part of the Glen Rhodes family for a long time. Some of her former Sunday School students are now seniors. She sang in the choir. She was part of the Curtain Call Players (a theatre group operating out of the church) at one time. In other words, her faith and her church meant a great deal to her.
Jane struggled with memory and communication for some time in recent years. Thanks to her caregiver, Sheila, Jane came to church each week in her wheelchair, where her smile continued to grace the gathering.
Jane didn’t get in the papers. There was never a scandal, an arrest, notoriety. In other words, most of the people of the community didn’t know her, even though hundreds of people of all ages were touched by her faith, her humour, her caring at some point in their lives.
Her generation is passing away. Most of them are already gone. What a legacy they leave the rest of us. Her funeral was one of dozens of such services take place across the city every day, every week. The congregation was modest, a little bigger than I had expected. No flags were lowered, no politicians were present, there was no police escort.
No words we could have said that day, no prayers, no gestures would do justice to her long, beautiful life. The service will ended too soon, and then mourners chatted as they shared a bite to eat, remembering her, smiling, sometimes laughing in appreciation of her wit and her contributions.
She let her life by guided by convictions about love, hope, justice, community. Jane McMillen made a difference, made her world better. What more needs to be said?