The phone call came at dawn this morning. "Kay passed away early this morning." Her husband Dave shared the news of my sister's death. He had written a couple of days ago that they were awaiting the moment when she will be "taken by the elemental forces of the universe to rejoin her Creator and the countless others who preceded her and will welcome her company."

I sit quietly in my study this afternoon remembering my life with her and all of my remaining siblings. There had been five of us. Kay had been the matriarch of our clan since my mother died seven years ago.Kay was a woman who was committed to life-giving love. She welcomed all into her family. She went out of her way to walk with those whom society had pushed to the margins. She embodied her mother's commitment to compassion and her daddy's gentle spirit.

Kay was a strong and determined woman who knew that love, to exist in a world where there is deep suffering, had to be tough. She knew that love not only blessed your heart, but also broke your heart. She knew that at it's heart, love is continuing to show up and to pay attention to the other.

Kay's long battle with ovarian cancer is over. My niece said she heard an owl's call early this morning. In Native American folk lore, the owl represents wisdom and helpfulness. The call also represents the spirit of one who has died. Kay's family included Native Americans, Guatemalans and Vietnamese. Her compassionate wisdom will strengthen my heart and use my tears to nurture a loving spirit. May God rest her soul.