"You'll stay with me?"
"Until the very end."
This is the reassurance that Harry Potter's deceased family gives him before he faces Voldemort for the last time. I saw the final movie tonight and it was a good reminder that our loved ones are always with us, even when we can't see or talk with them anymore.
Sometimes they can even seem to reappear quite tangibly. I don't know what it was, but the facilitator of a meeting I attended on Friday seemed to be channeling my grandmother in such a clear way that it actually made me choke up. Maybe it was a combination of things: the familiar way he looked over his glasses, his witty sense of humor, the way his eyes crinkled when he laughed. Or maybe his confident attitude and impeccable word choice.
My grandmother died a few years ago when I was a freshman in college. I often wonder what kinds of conversations we might have had if she was still alive, now that I'm really developing as an activist and leader.
As we had the same shoe size, I inherited some very nice Italian leather shoes after her death. They give me a great deal of confidence. I look at the worn soles and am reminded of how she helped to pave the way for me by pounding the halls of the Arkansas state capitol and the streets of Little Rock for decades seeking justice and understanding. She became a civil rights lawyer, served as Assistant Attorney General for several years, and was active on the Panel of American Women. She was a campaign manager and active Arkansas Democrat, raised an incredible family, was a supporter of the humanities and of science, and could often be found blissfully dancing Second Line in her adopted Louisiana city. She cared deeply for people and the environment.
Obviously, I had to bring a pair of her shoes with me to Australia. Their power lies in the daily reminder that she is with me. Always. Until the very end.