I feel as if the world has lost its moorings and is now drifting with the tide. Elizabeth II is dead.
We knew the day was coming. She was 96, and had been Queen for an unprecedented 70 years. It was only a matter of time
Yet somehow she seemed immortal. The only Queen of Canada in my lifetime. Yours too probably. It is difficult to imagine a world without her.
The tributes have been pouring in, talking about duty, service and devotion to her people. All of which was true.
Elizabeth wasn’t born to be Queen. Her father wasn’t supposed to be King. He got the job when his brother abdicated. Elizabeth was a young girl at that point, suddenly with an unanticpated destiny.
She surpassed all expectations, becoming perhaps Britain’s greatest monarch, presiding over many difficult years with grace and dignity, leading by example and showing inner strength to a country that so often was going through hard times. She was the glue that kept the nation and the Commonwealth together.
Perhaps not as well known was that Elizabeth was a woman of strong Christian faith. As Queen she was the titular head of the Anglican church, but her belief in Jesus Christ was a personal one, a sustaining faith that helped her weather the hard times. She wanted others to know Jesus’ love, and tried to show that love in action.
As queen, Elizabeth II visited Canada 22 times. There are thousands of Canadians with stories of their interactions with her. She seemed genuinely interested in the lives of individuals, from political leaders to janitors. She cared for people.
The one time I saw her in person, we didn’t speak. It was the early nineteen seventies and she came to Ottawa and took a stroll on Parliament Hill.
Back in those days security was much more relaxed than today, and Royal walkabouts were not uncommon. The thousands who came to the Hill that day knew they would see the Queen, and, if they were lucky, she might stop and talk with them.
I wasn’t one of the lucky ones. Which is probably a good thing – I have no idea what I would have said to the monarch back then. In adult years I have become comfortable with meeting those who are “famous,’ but the teenage me wouldn’t have known what to say.
The world has changed today. Elizabeth II has gone home to be with her savior. For her the trials and tribulations, of old age and of her job, are no more.
The world has changed. At this point it is hard to imagine how much. Those of us left behind are going to miss her.