As I sat listening to a great jazz rendition of the song “Smile”, I saw Ella in my mind’s eye. I met her just briefly- in the middle of a humble living room, lying in her hospital bed, pale as the sheet over her… but a smile on her face that lit up her eyes, and an infectious laugh that enveloped her granddaughters, while the last of her living siblings held her hand as tears dropped onto it.
She was taking care of the rest of us, and I learned from her family, this was the hallmark of her whole life: caring for everyone around her. Even at the end of her life, she was spreading a smile to dispel some of the sadness. I left her home with the thought, “Here lies Ella, practicing random acts of kindness. You are beautiful”.
Smile, though your heart is
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
Light up your face with
Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just
C. Chaplin, J. Turner, G. Parsons)