I took a long walk through Georgetown today to say good bye to a great friend, a mentor, someone who taught me about servant leadership by her example, by her life.
Earlier today I received word that, after years of a brave fight against cancer, the end is near and so I started walking from Dupont Circle, down M Street, up Wisconsin, across Reservoir, passing my parents' old high school and the neighborhood where my mother grew up, and then to Georgetown Hospital to say goodbye.
She was awake when I got there and we were able to share together for a little while and I prayed with her, not quite comprehending that this is farewell. I worked with her, for her, until she retired to spend time with her husband and her son and enjoy her life. Dedicated to her job, she was even more dedicated to her staff, a truly remarkable witness in this fast-paced and most often so self-centered world of Washington. Over the years, she's kept up with all of us, checking in, keep tabs, making sure. She encouraged me in my writing and even today asked me about the writing. And always the hostess, she talked with me as though I had just dropped by for tea. Even to the end, she thinks about others, including her son and her husband.
As I left Georgetown Hospital for another long walk through Georgetown and back to Dupont Circle, this song came up on the iPod and so here it is. One of the last things she said to me was "we will talk again," and looked me straight in the eye. Yes we will, to God be the glory.