Last Christmas Day I introduced you to Vivian Connell of Chapel Hill, NC. I had met her only 22 months earlier at a conference in Austin, TX. She was one of those rare people who immediately draws your attention. She was intelligent, attentive and certainly questioning.
I learned that she had gone to law school in her 40’s after many years in the classroom. She worked hard to see the good in all around her and to infect others with the same spirit. She was active in North Carolina on behalf of justice and equity for all students and was deeply troubled by efforts to undo years of progressive education reforms across the state.
One of the first things I noticed when I met her was a small brace on her left leg. Her doctors were trying to determine her health situation. Not long after, she learned she had ALS.
I had the good fortune to have lunch with Vivian in Chapel Hill last July. Her health was steadily declining. Still, she said hardly a word about the hand Fate dealt her and concentrated on her projects, her husband and her children.
She has continued to blog on occasion, even as ALS tightened its grip on her body. And unfortunately, her days are now measured in weeks, rather than years.
This is her final blog post. It is long, but then, how do you capture a life so rich in a handful of words? And how do you pass quickly by issues that are still so precious to you?
I encourage you to read this post and to marvel at the grace and spirit of Vivian and to be strengthened by her words. And join me in a prayer that her last days will be as comfortable as possible and that the seeds she has sown will spout for years to come.