Every now and then, if you are lucky, you meet someone with whom you immediately form a bond. It’s like recognizing someone you’ve never actually met before but you feel you know them and they become a part of your life in a very short period of time. Georgia Young was such a person and it was a loss to our entire community when she passed last week. She will be deeply and truly missed by a large number of people and it occurred to me that she deserved a few more words to be said about her than those that are contained in her obituary.
I cannot say that I knew Georgia long, nor can I say that I knew her well but I know a bit of her story and the short time I knew her was long on conversation and connection.
Georgia was a deeply independent, self possessed, self reliant, stubborn, sweet, genuinely kind and caring, full of laughter as well as tears and always carried a bit of a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. She was, like many women in this region in my youth, capable of doing whatever needed to be done to care for her family. She knew how to find a way. Her path through life was not an easy one but she walked it with a grace and strength that proved her spirit much larger than her tiny frame.
I loved her for all of that and she loved me, maybe because she saw a hint of something similar in my eyes. She was an honest woman, brutally so some might say, but I would far rather have an honest thought than one designed to soften the edges. She did not suffer fools gladly and if she considered you a fool there was a good chance she would let you know it one way or another. Personally, I considered it a breath of fresh air that I always knew where I stood with her. With most people there is so much second-guessing but not with Georgia. If she loved you she told you she loved you and she meant it. You could see it in her eyes.
Georgia delighted in life, in her family and friends and in her children and grandchildren especially. Her eyes would twinkle with such joy and fun when she would stop at our table at Opal’s and share with us some story of the young ones in her life. She never said it but it was obvious that that sweet little person could turn into a dragon at the drop of a hat if anything or anyone threatened those she loved. She loved gently but fiercely, as she did most things, with everything in her. There were no half measures in her half pint size.
When I heard that she had passed it came as a great shock and my heart was wounded by the fact that I will never she her grin again or hear her stories. That blow was softened when I learned that she had passed peacefully in her sleep. Though there would never have been a good time to lose her, if there was a good way it was the way she left. As I said, Georgia was fiercely independent. It would not have been ok with her to linger in ill health and require others to care for her.
It is the exit she would have chosen, if not the timing any of us would choose.
She has taken a bit of the spark of our days with her but she would tell us to find that spark within ourselves, and share it with those we love. She would not be wrong. If we wish to honor her memory we can do so by practicing kindness, generosity and gratitude. We are wounded by her loss but we are better because she lived.