My friend Odile died this past Saturday afternoon, April 28th, after a long battle with cancer. On Friday, I’d sent a couple of photos of me holding our first grandchild to Odile’s sister, Christine, along with a few thoughts on “the circle of life.” Christine wrote yesterday that she was able to tell Odile the happy news on Saturday morning during Odile’s last lucid moments, after which she lapsed into unconsciousness and died not long thereafter. (And yes, Christine used a close variant of the phrase “elle nous a quitté” — “she has left us.”)

I am glad Odile is no longer suffering, and that her loved ones are spared further pain in watching her suffer. She lasted far longer than I thought she would, and fought death like a tiger — not because she was afraid to die (at least such was her mindset when she and I talked so frankly about such things many months ago), but because she loved life so much. She had learned to live and rejoice in the moment.

She helped me when I needed help, going beyond cultural norms to do so. I know she thought of her intervention as small and insignificant, but just as the celebrated beating of a butterfly's wings in China potentially creates a storm in the Atlantic, her small acts of kindness, her frankness and honesty, calmed and helped me overcome the painful storm in my soul, and I will ever be grateful to her.

I hope in my heart of hearts to see her again.