You were full of life. On your own, with others, in a sterilized hospital bed. You were always full of life. Nothing could contain the happiness that you exerted upon all those that surrounded you. No ailment could hold down your internal spark. Your charisma could be felt for miles in even the quietest, loneliest of places, and was exemplified in the social settings of any situation. I look in the mirror at myself and I see parts of you. I see you in me, your facial expressions, your features, and the way you smile, and still manage to find the good and see the good in the world even in your old age. Many individuals, once they hit their late ages, become increasingly bitter. But you always had a smile, a good story to tell, a memory to reminisce upon, and a laugh to share. You didn’t let age destroy your perception of life, nor did you let it isolate or even demolish your ability to be exactly who you had always been. When I see all these bits and pieces of you in myself, it leads me to a strange, comforting thought that perhaps I am meant to carry on parts of who you are through my own life, as if the torch has been passed from one life to the next. You were always full of gratitude, social with others, and genuinely understanding and interested in the lives of others. Even in your final moments, your ears were attentive and your baby blues were open, scanning the faces that looked lovingly upon you, a smile exhibited in your eyes. Even in the moments when you could not speak, I could feel your words. I could assume your snappy responses, and the way you’d chuckle at our silly, weird stories. Even in your final moments, it was your decision to do what you had to do, rather than the dictation of someone else. You made the decisions that would easily be difficult for anyone to make, let alone the one being affected by the matter. All your life, you had been outspoken, insightful, and most importantly, willful and determined. You knew how you felt and what you desired for your own life, even in the moments when death felt inevitably close. You were unafraid of what was to come, and were willing to make the decision to rejoice with the others who had passed before you. I admire your courage, and could only wish that one day, I will have the same strength to go through what you’ve been through as confidently and dignified as you had. You inspire me to take the reins of my own life, trusting in my own judgment and determined to follow my own heart and head, even in the face of fear. I love you always, Coral, and I am eternally lucky and grateful to have had your presence in my life and to be graced with your name. I will continue what you have started, and do whatever I can to bring to light the kind of happiness you have given to me. It’s hard to believe and accept that your journey has ended in this life, so quickly and forcefully, but your legacy lives on in our hearts and thoughts and will be carried through our lives as a reminder of what a strong woman and mother figure looks like. Our hearts will continue to be filled with the memories of you in life, because if there is truly the existence of an afterlife, you will certainly have the same sense of conviction and admirable character that you had even at the moments of your decided departure. We love you, forever and always, Coral.
Heaven has gained a smiling angel, and for that, we are grateful you are at peace at last.