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.