Sunday, April 10, 2011

Leroy remembers Rachel.

In Memoriam:

Rachel Elizabeth Ewer, December 2,1993-April 6, 2011

We do not know how any life will close.  We only know it as a gift, an unimaginable event of joy and watchfulness.  With her mother’s fierce and eager engagement of living and her father’s unfailing kindness and gentle regard, Rachel was a girl of enormous gifts, of talent and intelligence and generosity.  She lived her whole life fully, receiving it as a miracle and wonder.  In a family that almost every day sang themselves into waking, as into sleep, she came to music with a sober joy and seriousness, with a teacher’s calm determination setting out to give her grandfather a lesson on her diminutive violin, knowing almost before she knew anything else that this is how learning truly happens.  She went to school as if it were her absolute birthright, learning, eager to learn, everything that could be learned.  In the grief and pain of her passing, coming both too slowly and too fast, she perhaps better than any of us understood the perilousness of living and the seriousness of dying, but with a steadiness of light and a fixed determination to live out every moment as fully as it could be lived.  Her loss is overwhelming.  Everyone she touched, which is everyone she met, understood without instruction how great a gift is kindness, attention, the willingness to do and to be, that was so plain in her.  At its closing, how a life has been lived may be all that we can know of it.  Rachel’s was miraculous and beautiful and we rejoice in every moment of it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rachel Elizabeth Ewer

When Cassandra and the Phoenix Chorale came to sing at a national conference and then give a performance at St. Mark's cathedral (above), she brought her husband Richard, her son Jeremy and daughter Rachel Ewer.  That was a little more than a year ago.  Rachel was at that time on a more dramatic course of medications for the valley fever disease than she had been for the previous eight or so years.  But you would never have known that she did not feel well.  And she never wanted to be asked how she felt.  She disliked drawing attention to herself in any way.

 Like her parents, she loved music -- piano, violin and voice.  Her father, a composer, has both written and arranged music for the Phoenix Girls Chorus of which she was a part, and through which she became a world traveler.

To me, she was both elfin and intrepid. So smart and yet so kind.  Such a terrific sense of both humor and irony.  She lived a full and varied life, of which we will hear more tomorrow as musicians and fellow students and her family pay tribute to her life and her impact upon the world.

This photo is from 2006, when we trekked through the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island.

She will never be forgotten by anyone whose life she touched.

Leroy and I thank each of you who have taken the time to write, and we are overwhelmed by your love and support.