Saturday, February 04, 2012

Death & Life

A very dear friend of mine passed away today. We have (had??) been friends for almost 20 years. Right now, I feel the loss, and will miss her presence even more than I have missed her during her brief convalescence (which followed a long slugfest with cancer). The grief will pass, however, and what stands behind the grief is what commands my attention:

She lived and died with integrity. Perfect person? Of course not. But she was honest, loyal, hard-working, smart, funny, free-hearted, and open-minded. I'd like to believe that I am a better person because of some of the things I've learned from her. I hope so, anyway. I'm trying.

Intellectually, I know that everyone has to die, and since we don't all just drop dead at the same time, someone has to go first. I hate it, though. It makes no more sense than it did when I was a child. One day, someone is here, the next day, they aren't. And they aren't ever coming back. Grandmother, grandfather, friend, whomever.

But how can this be, when their fingerprints are all over my life? When their lessons continue to inform me long past their date of expiration? How do I know that they are "really gone?"

I don't know, and so I choose to believe that they aren't. That when I need them, they will advise me and intercede on my behalf. That when I think I can't walk one more mile or endure one more hardship, they will be right there, with a whispered word of encouragement or a swift kick, whatever the situation dictates. That's awfully self-centered of me, but that's where I am. It's how I get by.

I don't have much more to say. Life goes on for the living, but right now, in honor of my good friend Vicki, I'm going to take a pause.

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