A Tribute to Our Dear Friends

Sep 23, 2017

A Tribute to Our Dear Friends

"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf."
--Rabindranath Tagore

Gilly Adkins
1957 - 2017

Dearest Gilly, what a force of nature. That big smile of yours, your irreverent sense of humor, your love of a good cuppa, some girl talk, and a giggle. The joy you emanated when you spoke of your beloved children, which was pretty much any time we met with you. And somehow you embodied a rare combination of gentleness, compassion and feistiness that never ceased to amaze and inspire and delight us all. There you were, no matter that you might be facing one of life's greatest challenges, to you it was simply a mystery to be explored, a new frontier to be forged... most especially within yourself.

In these last glorious years of your life, no one can say you gave life any less. On the contrary, it was as if your own inner questing simply would let nothing stand in its way. Your lifelong impulse to share whatever your passion just seemed to grow. You looked illness in the face and said "why not!?" and instead of staying home and allowing yourself the comforts of the familiar, you did the absolute opposite. So "you." You traveled far and wide, sharing your own experience, thoughts, fears, insights. Touching people with your humanness, radically yet gently questioning any hint of resignation within yourself or those around us. "There has to be another way!" your motto.

Remarkable Gilly, at a time when most would have welcomed the familiar and the comforts of home, you decided it was time for another great adventure. And off you set, in the way of anyone who knows exactly what a real adventure will require of them... leaving all that was familiar and safe behind you, unsure of where it might lead you and what you might lose in the process. But you were following your heart and the big dream you held there, and that commitment left no room for fears about the unknown. On the contrary, the unknown was your entire quest.

And then, there you found yourself, in the middle of the French countryside, in a simple, ancient, remote little village, explaining to those who asked, "There was a feminine energy that just drew me here like a magnet!" And, with regular visits and the help of your children--always ready with a paintbrush and a helping hand for their beloved Mum--you set about putting down roots.

It was as if to face uncharted territory within yourself, you needed the outside to be just such a place for you too. You faced loss and loneliness in the same way you faced everything else in your life; not shying away, simply immersing yourself totally, exploring it like a child, questioning, baring yourself to life, becoming ever more and more human... and blossoming in the process.

It is all these qualities and more that could be felt when we were around you, Gilly. They made of you the most remarkable mother, daughter, partner, friend, teacher and human being. What a joy that you graced our lives. May we take up your challenge and live every instant with the same courage, humor and abandon. And so your radiance lives on.

Melanie Buzek
1956 - 2017

Oh precious Mel, how can someone distill down and find the pure essence of your life? We could judge your life by titles, degrees, jobs, money or relationships, but is that the essence of you? We could list dates and times, what you did or where you lived, but is that a complete vignette of your being? We could list likes and dislikes, giving us insight, but is that your soul?
Melanie, in 61 years, you were daughter, sister, cousin, lover, teacher, mentor, physical therapist, BodyTalk practitioner, healer, director, manager, colleague and friend. You lived in Texas, Florida, Arizona, New York, Costa Rica and Hawaii and traveled all over the world. You were not a collector of things but of souls. Your ever-ready smile and quick wit started many friendships, and your respect, kindness, calm demeanor and patience, along with a wonderful dash of zany humor, grew them into solid relationships. You loved bacon, cats and dogs, the ocean and the mountains. You loved burgers and French fries, chili and corn bread, margaritas and long island ice tea. You loved long walks, Christmas, turning your face to the sun and just sitting with friends and talking. You were both action and peace. All these things tell of who you were, but they were not your essence.
Your essence was that of a nurturer; in everything you did, you were the nurturer. You said many times that you never thought you would make a good mother. That will surprise those who knew you, because you were a born nurturer. From the beginning, you were the little mother to your younger brother and to your mom. They describe you as sweet, tender, loving and very giving, as well as a constant presence and giver of wisdom. You nurtured your friends, who describe you as fun-loving, sweet, big-hearted, spunky, a great listener and with an infectious smile and beautiful inside and out.
You nurtured your clients/patients; they felt the sacredness of your work and the thoroughness of your care. They too call you beautiful, wise, kind and loving. One client said, "Melanie truly valued people just as they were. She didn't try to change people or their ignorance. She was able to see beyond people's fears to a place where they would be healthier, more mature, more whole. She brought the best out in people!"
You nurtured your sense of humor with your quirky little faces, silly voices and smart comebacks. You nurtured your intelligence by always seeking more, being creative and wanting to share what you knew. You nurtured your students with a "let me think about that," and a "be truly present for your client." One former student states, "Melanie had the unique ability to listen to questions asked by a broad variety of people, ponder the question, and fit the answer exactly to the student. No question was stupid to Melanie."
Melanie, you were willing to sit with people where they were emotionally and spiritually. You had reverence. You believed the space of your treatment table was a sacred space for healing and growth and held that space for everyone who came to it either in your private practice or during a class. You believed in being really, truly present for those in your life in each moment. You taught this being present in each of your classes and helped your students to see this difference between being there and being present.

Even in the end, when you knew there was not much longer, you nurtured. You welcomed your dearest friends to come and sit or lay beside you. You held their hand or touched their face, looked deep into their eyes as you always did and helped them accept the impending transition. You were present. You let them know that you would be alright and so would they. You took what you needed but continued to give of your beautiful soul, your very bright smile and your ever-ready acceptance. Into the transition you went, holding your dear mother's hand while she sang you the Christmas carols you loved as a child. We loved your sweet, kind, calm, loving and sometimes goofy presence and are all the better for your nurturing of our souls. Good-bye our friend. We would know your essence again.

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