This Life Only Comes Around Once: Live Life!
This morning I found out that a dear friend, Liz Roberts, passed away after battling leukemia. I had known that she was ill, and had forwarded my best wishes for her recovery. What I did not expect was to wake up and find out on Facebook that she had passed away yesterday.
I was gripped with shock, and then a profound sadness, and then as the realization began to hit me that Liz was truly gone, the tears began to stream down my face. If ever one wanted, to have an indication as to how much a person had impacted you or touched your life, I was receiving it clearly in the moment.
I first met Liz, at the inaugural Toastmaster’s meeting, for the brand new club in Sooke. At that time, Liz had had extensive experience public speaking and it showed. Whatever I thought I knew or had gained over the years making presentations, or speaking in public paled severely in comparison. When people talk about “setting the bar”, did Liz EVER set the bar!
From the very first moment, that I had the privilege of listening to Liz Roberts make a speech in front of us, I was riveted. Most of us had gotten up and done a few speeches along the way. And quite truly, we were all mostly quite terrified of getting up there all alone and speaking in public. As has been found, most people have a greater fear of public speaking than death! Liz was very much alive up there! Incredibly alive and so full of enthusiasm and life!
To listen to, and to SEE Liz deliver a speech in front of us, was like getting a front-row seat to a master class on public speaking. Where I felt stiff and rigid in my presentation, to watch Liz speak was like watching an artist painting a tableau. I swear, to be there, you would have seen the pictures that she created with her words and gestures in your head as clear as day. A Master in form. A Master in stride. A Master dancing with life upon the stage! Not once did I ever not be thoroughly impressed, and dare I say “inspired” by what Liz was able to achieve on that stage.
But if it were just about giving great speeches, I would not have been as impacted as much as I was by Liz as I was. From the first moment I met her, Liz’s generosity of spirit, her gentle encouraging way, and absolute ferocious courage shone through!
So rare do I find, that someone is not only interested in looking good and being good, but is also very generous with their praise and encouragement, and is able to act as a “mentor.” Liz didn’t seem interested in keeping all of the glitter for herself. She was gracious and free with her knowledge, and she made it feel like, if you applied yourself, you too could grace these starry heights. The way to get good at anything is to do it. And I could tell that Liz had made a lot of speeches and worked hard at mastering her craft. But like most accomplished masters she made it look easy. And it did look easy, until it was my turn to do the same. But in good and very gracious form, Liz offered feedback and constructive criticism in a way that was easy to absorb and to build upon. It just made one want to get back up there as soon as possible and try it again.
If the measure of a person’s mark upon this Earth, is how their memory continues to live within those left behind, and the inspiration that they fill us with, then Liz Roberts has left a huge imprint. Any time that I feel a lack of courage or spirit, I hope that I am able to summon up Liz’s image, and to see her up there on the stage in full stride, confident, smiling, and full of life and enthusiasm. And then hopefully I will say to myself …. “Let’s do it!”
I am thankful that I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, and got a chance to benefit from Liz’s sparkling, dazzling, generous spirit.
Liz my friend, you will be missed. That is certain! Know that you have touched this soul and left a lifelong imprint.
Thank you for all that you gave to us, and for rising to the occasion tirelessly and courageously, each and every time. You were a true inspiration!
Rest in peace