This past Saturday started and ended with a funeral.
The first one was in a huge Catholic church in a city neighborhood for a colleague of mine. A woman I knew of for over 10 years before I had the pleasure of working with her for the last two. She died suddenly in her home.
Judy was a lobbyist. While we didn't work for the same organization, we spent time in the State House, in meetings, via email and phone calls trying to figure out how to pass legislation and budget items that would ensure the residents of our Commonwealth have safe and affordable housing.
As my boss wrote in an email "Judy was a special person and the type of lobbyist that you don't read about in the papers". He went on to write
"She had the knowledge, networks and skills to represent any client and to make lots of money. But Judy chose to represent non profits who worked for those with fewer advantages. She not only provided a voice for those who are too often not heard in the State House, but she also provided them with an ear- and that is just as important. Judy was a tremendously valuable source of information, intelligence, and yes gossip, from the State House that enabled us to be more effective. And despite endless hours in the 'the building', she always lived her values, maintained her integrity, and never forgot why she was there."
She made a difference for thousands of people. People who will never know the role she played in their lives.
Her death cut short a vibrant and purposeful life. She missed a key vote for a bill she had been working on for over 10 years. That was how we knew something was wrong. Because Judy never missed a vote.
The day ended in a grand theater downtown. One of those guilded tributes to the stage. A dear dear friend came to the big city to see a touring production of Rent with two of the original cast members.
Judy would never think of a Broadway show tune recalling her. But what struck me while hearing the song was how it was about shelter.
And that is what Judy gave by being a lobbyist. Shelter.
Any song gives you comfort?
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