Beth Fouser Adamo
I met Phoebe Robertson 42 years ago when we were in Mrs. Ellerbush’s kindergarten class together. We became friends, along with Becky and Judy, and never looked back. I saw Phoebe many times over the past decade and was gratified each and every time by how we would immediately pick up right where we left off as if no time had passed at all. There was a purity to our friendship that was extraordinary and even magical.
There are countless stories I could share about how wonderful, brilliant, and funny Phoebe was. But I would like to share this one, which I think sheds some insight into how Phoebe lived her life.
In 2007, I suffered the greatest loss of my life when I woke up one Sunday morning to find my 19-month-old daughter Natalie had died in her sleep—without any warning or explanation. A few weeks later, Phoebe drove down to Providence to spend some time with me and we talked a lot about life—and death. I think Phoebe was deeply affected by what had happened to me and my family. She told me repeatedly how moved she was by the eulogy that was delivered at Natalie’s memorial service—and I would like to share a brief portion of it with you now. (You can find the full text at: http://natalie-adamo.memory-of.com/legacy.aspx)
“LIVE YOUR LIFE ON PURPOSE. Live each day as if it were a GIFT… because, really, it is. Live each day so that you have no regrets. Live each day knowing that you’ve gloried in every minute… in every smile, every tear, every hug, in everything TANGIBLE and INTANGIBLE. And, most importantly of all… LOVE. LOVE your life and everything and EVERYONE in it! Because there is no part of it that is not a GIFT. So let your heart overflow with GRATITUDE… Because you’ve been given so much! So much BEAUTY… So much TENDERNESS… So much LOVE.”
Although it was written for my happy, vibrant little Natalie, it so aptly describes our dear and beloved Phoebe, too—and I think that’s why she was so deeply affected by it. Phoebe wrote to me in an email the following year: “…It's a documented phenomenon that people who know real mortality are less inclined to sweat the small stuff and that's A GIFT. You give to the rest of us with more routine sorrows a gift. You give us perspective. You make us PAY ATTENTION. What a great speech that was. I still carry it around…”
Phoebe took this lesson to heart in everything she did. She lived FULLY. She lived INTENTIONALLY. She lived with HAPPINESS, LOVE, GRACE, and GOODNESS.
Thank you for being my friend, Phoebe. My life has been better for having you in it. I love you forever and will miss you always.
Sunday December 29, 2013 at 9:52 am