19,499 days, the span of a cruelly short life. Today is November 26. In the United States, this is Thanksgiving Day in 2015. For me, this date is bitter. It is a date that marks great loss. It was on this date, some years ago that I lost one who could not have known how great was her influence upon me and, I imagine upon many who were unknown to her. I was able to spend some of those days with her, but not enough. There could never have been enough to have been sufficient for my many needs, but 19,499 days was all that she was given, and in those few days she accomplished so much.
It was almost ten years after her death that I learned that she was gone. I have known grief and loss; all of us do in time, but I have never felt such a profound sense of loss as this. It had been my intention to meet with her, hopefully to explain my departure from her life and to apologize for the tardiness of the explanation. Instead, I was greeted with the no-longer-news of her passing.
Throughout my life, I do not recall a day since we first met that I have failed to think of her. Most often, those thoughts have been unbidden; those thoughts came only because she was so thoroughly woven into my experiences and the fabric of my life. I am not a good person, but for all of my deficiencies, I am better for having been touched by her.
Today, I mourn and I thank her spirit for being with me always. I thank Kitchee Manitou for the gift of her life and for allowing her spirit to touch mine. To my Christian friends who tell me that their God has made her an angel, I say that it is more nearly correct to say that God made her a gift to the angels.
Today, I am thankful for Ann. Surely we can all find something for which we should express thanks. I was just more blessed than others.
These are the words of Ojijaak.