The church was full for the Celebration of Life for our dear Edythe Ann Stromme. Only Christmas Eve and Easter rivaled the attendance at the Creswell Presbyterian Church (between Eugene and Cottage Grove, Oregon) on Saturday, February 3, 2018. Though early February, the temperature reached 70º, the sun was glorious, and the daffodils bloomed. The church was filled with bouquets of flowers and photo collages. Story after story was shared about how Edythe touched and enriched lives. Edythe lived kindness, offered grace as she was often the bridge over troubled waters for those in distress, and was always clever and curious.
When it was my turn, near tears, I told how Edythe had been my best friend. Seems everyone I met felt that she was their best friend! Everyone felt cherished by Edythe. She had a way of making you feel you were so valued as she listened deeply and stayed present.
I shared another side of Edythe. She had a way of speaking the Truth with kindness and love. One Fall, when she came up to join me for the Edmonds Write on the Sound Conference, she stopped me and said, “Kizzie you are very different this visit. You seem distracted and tense.” There was no judgement in her comment. Just a gentle reflection of what she saw. It allowed me to step back and recognize how stressed I’d been and how I continued to carry the tension with me. Edythe made it possible for me to get re-grounded, not only for that time but for the days ahead. I became a better person because of Edythe and her ability to speak the Truth in Love.
I closed my comments with a Charles Schulz Peanuts cartoon I’d seen that week. Snoopy received a letter with the salutation, “Dear Friend of Friends.” I thought, yes, that was our Edythe. A Friend of Friends. She loved us, and we loved her right back.