Balloons in the sky.

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We attended a funeral today.

There were tears.  But there was also laughter, rolling through the throngs of people that came to pay their last respects to an incredible woman.  The laughter said a lot about her and the light that she brought to those near and dear to her.  But even if you didn't know her, you could know through her words that Leanne Coppen shone bright like a star.

I met Leanne last summer, at a friend's wedding.  Only after did I learn that she was battling cancer.  You couldn't know by looking at her.  What I saw was this graceful and intelligent woman, with an impeccable sense of style and a generous heart.  The night before the wedding, she fluttered about the party, armed with a healthy bottle of Jack Daniels and a fistful of cups.  Pouring with a smile.

At the end of the service, the crowds gathered on wide steps outside.  Squinting under the blinding sun.  There were balloons and a lot of them.  A sea of pink, green and yellow swaying above the ocean of black clothes and dark sunglasses.  Together, they were released to the sky, lifted by the unanimous: We love you Leanne!

We watched as the balloons floated up and up and away until we couldn't see them anymore.