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Embracing the Joys of April: A Life Well-Lived

John, Karin, April, and I embarked on a bike trip just before April received the devastating diagnosis of cancer.

While contemplating a myriad of potential topics for reflection, my mind continuously gravitated towards April Dowler. Recently, my wife, along with approximately 200 friends and family members, gathered to pay tribute to her at a memorial service held last Saturday at the Presbyterian church in Shepherdstown. April passed away earlier this month following a valiant battle against cancer that spanned nearly five years.

Her untimely departure at the age of 67, just a few days short of her 68th birthday, was a profound loss. April exuded vitality and zest for life, making her departure all the more incomprehensible. Fate, however, operates beyond our control. Since our college days, April and her husband, John League, played an indispensable role in the lives of my wife and me, as well as numerous others.

Throughout her lifetime, April achieved remarkable feats. She excelled as a lawyer, a family law expert, a mediator, a dedicated educator, a committed volunteer for various civic causes, and even a discerning restaurant critic. A devoted mother of two and a proud grandmother of two, April touched the lives of many with her warmth and boundless affection.

Her expansive circle of friends attests to her capacity to love unreservedly and extend kindness effortlessly. In April’s presence, one felt truly seen and heard. While her open-heartedness made her vulnerable to pain, she possessed a remarkable capacity for forgiveness.

Despite grappling with a prolonged illness, April never harbored bitterness or self-pity. Our conversations consistently revolved around her genuine concern for our well-being and the happenings in our lives.

Gifted with sharp intellect, unwavering honesty, and strong opinions tempered with kindness, April’s tenure as a family court judge honed her rational approach to interpersonal dynamics. Consequently, friends sought her counsel on matters both significant and trivial.

Her devoted husband, John, served as a devoted caregiver, embodying unwavering dedication and love. During the memorial service, he eloquently expressed that their bond had only grown stronger over time, culminating in a poignant moment where he professed his love as she drew her last breath.

The memorial service evoked profound sorrow among attendees, particularly John and their children, yet it also served as a tribute to a life brimming with significance. April’s legacy transcends mere existence; she left an indelible mark on the world. As the adage goes, “It is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts.”

April’s years were teeming with accomplishments, yet she always prioritized her roles as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. If one is fortunate, they encounter someone akin to April—a rare gem who elevates everyone in their orbit. Their presence enriches lives in ways that are truly transformative.

Upon their passing, a profound void emerges, challenging to fill. Nevertheless, their impact endures, leaving an enduring imprint on our hearts. Today, my thoughts are consumed by this profound truth, a sentiment I hope to cherish for years to come.