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Sunday, August 30, 2015

She Lived Her A-Life: A Tribute to Terry Scheil

I was blessed to have talked with her only a few weeks before she transitioned to Heaven.

But I was always blessed to have talked with her...or just to be in her was everyone else.

That's the kind of person she was...the kind of soul she remains in Heaven.  A loving-kind soul...a blessed soul...a soul who blesses...a soul I came to know in this world as Terry Scheil.

In the mid-1990's I taught acting and writing at the Rochester Association of Performing Arts, otherwise known as RAPA, located in my beloved Upstate, New York hometown.

Multi-talented in the arts - and in the art of living, Terry was a charming, intelligent, beautiful, and nurturing presence and colleague at RAPA, where she essentially helped keep it all together.

At the very least, she helped to keep me all together.

Whenever I had to reschedule a class, or was challenged by a particular time-crunch or any other issue that may have arisen, Terry worked her magic.  No matter how busy she was, and she was always busy, she somehow made time to make things better, to make things work, or to make things work better.

On many an occasion, she would place her work aside and be there to guide me.

One of the amazing aspects of Terry's sweet soul was her uncanny intuitive ability on how to deal with even the most difficult of challenges with nothing but an unflappable, pleasant, nonjudgmental, gracious, generous demeanor.

In the few years that I worked with Terry at RAPA, and in the years following, whenever I spoke with her in person or on the phone, I never once heard her say an unkind thing about anyone; never once did I see her become intolerant or angry or impatient with any one human being or in any one particular situation, intolerable or otherwise.  I never once heard her speak a cross word about anyone, anything, anywhere, at any time.

That wasn't Terry's style.  She didn't have time to be any other way.  She was too busy being an angel and working miracles.  Not the more opulent parting of the Red Sea, or anything like that...but the more subtle little miracles that pave the way for the big miracles...the big miracles that would not be possible if not for the countless little miracles that are created by the kind of souls...the loving-kind souls like Terry Scheil.

Terry's physical presence is gone now...but her very essence remains in the ethers of this world - and in the very molecules, hearts and souls of all those she left behind.

Any of us who ever loved Terry, and there are many...we now have a grand legacy to live up to.  The best way we can honor Terry and every good thing she ever did, said, felt, believed or thought, is to at least try to be as good and gracious a human being as she exampled for us.

To her beautiful son, Ian, who did such an astounding job in caring for his beautiful Mom:

I understand what you're going through...not exactly....but somewhat.  I, too, served as a caregiver to my dear Mother, as well as my dear Father.  So, I've been there...I get it.  But we all have our own journey...and our own way of processing life experiences, and I certainly will not suggest any which way as the best way to deal with anything.  

But what I do know is this...on Earth, my Mom and Dad's love was packaged and shaped in bodies and personalities called Frances and Pompeii.  And though I may not see them now in this world, everything about them that was Love, lives on - in their sense of of humor, the echoes of their voices, every hug they ever gave me, every blessing my Mom ever made with her rosary, every blessing my Dad ever made with his strong sense of right and wrong.

Everything else that was not Love...the various physical challenges they each faced in their later years...the fears....the anxieties...the heart ailments....the stomach issues...all of that burned away in the Light of God's embrace...or Love's embrace...however you want to name it.

And I believe that to be the same for all who leave this world...including your dear sweet mother.

As I observed after my own Mom passed...our journey and final destination is like a rocket soaring into space.  The pieces of us that we don't need - fall off as we move closer to that all-encompassing Light...until all that is left is the little capsule that holds our soul.  And that little capsule, filled with every loving thought and every act of loving kindness that is ever displayed on Earth, is now not only bundled together, magnified, multiplied and showcased in Heaven - but is now able to leave behind a personal, immeasurable, immortal and priceless legacy in which the rest of us to revel while remain on Earth - and beyond.

What a wonderful gift...and so fitting to such a wonderful soul that we knew here as Terry Scheil.

Thank you, Terry, for teaching us all how to love - and how to live...the A-Life...a truly authentic and exemplary life...forever more.

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