This year we took the opportunity to hear and tell stories about daily life members who we continue to remember: Sharon Doane, Dean Willett, Pat Dillon and Kelly Hebert. We were lucky to have Susan Mitchell, who was in community with each of them, to share some of her memories of each of them. This was an incredible gift to our newer community members who have heard their names, but now have also connected to their stories.
It is also our tradition to remember daily life members with garden statues. We remember Sharon with a Buddha statue in the back yard at Neahkahnie, because when she sat cross legged on the floor, she reminded assistants of a Buddha. Dean had a cat growing up in the Dalles named Benson, and when he moved to L’Arche, he had a stuffed cat that he named Benson who was with him every night. We have a statue of a cat in the backyard at Neahkahnie in remembrance of Dean – the cat’s name is Benson. There’s a circle of friends statue in the backyard at Nehalem House in memory of Pat – she was such an important part of beginning and nurturing our community, and she was very dedicated to relationships in her life. The statue of the dove is in the backyard at Neahkahnie in memory of Kelly. She was a person who had a very peaceful presence, and a deep and growing passion for peacemaking and social justice in our world.
We ended our evening together by singing our Beautiful Song (which is sung to people on their anniversaries and transitions) to John and Don, as a way to honor them one more time and to bless their garden statues. It was a beautiful evening.