I learned of her death as I made my daily walk through Facebook postings. I knew she had earlier been hospitalized and remained in ICU; so her condition was obviously serious. Still, I was unprepared for her death, and I gasped when I read the words, “passed away.”
Many years ago, she had touched my life. We were not best friends; neither were we mere acquaintances. We were somewhere in-between. We smiled a friendly smile each time we met. We exchanged pleasantries and assured each other that we were so glad we’d crossed paths one more time. Her gentle demeanor was always comforting.
There was a time, though, when I desperately needed encouragement in my efforts to become a bona fide writer, and Yvonne quietly gave it to me as she stood behind the counter of a local drugstore. “Have you written anything lately?” she asked. “Don’t give it up!” This conversation gave me the confidence I needed to continue writing, hoping to inspire others and bring a measure of peace through my words.
There’s an old song entitled “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” that says:
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do. Do not wait to shed your light afar. To the many duties ever near you, now be true: Brighten the corner where you are.
That’s what Yvonne did. She lit up my path and helped me walk on toward my goal. Eventually, I published a book of poetry (Through the Storms), and in it I allude to her kind, encouraging words that bolstered my desire to write.
As I think of her, now passed from this earth, I’m sure her good influence also motivated many others. Still, it is the encouragement she gave me of which I speak; and I hope when, in eternity, her life is read, there will at least be a note in the margin that says, “Through a soft-spoken phrase, she encouraged a writer. That writer’s words encouraged a reader. That reader encouraged yet another… and on…and on…and on.”
May we always be mindful of the power of words, spoken or written; and may my words serve to enlighten (and never dim) the paths of others.
Rest in peace, Yvonne. Thank you for brightening my corner.