A Last Gift

posted in: Mindfulness | 20

Very, very early Sunday morning I learned of the passing of a friend. She was someone who had been completely integrated into my life for more than 15 years. We’d met in Minnesota coming from completely divergent parts of the U.S. – I from New York, she from California – in the quest of our MFA in Theater Design and had been assigned as Teaching Assistants to the Lighting Design professor.

We were, I think, surprised by the level of bonding we developed. We went through our program like a force of nature, challenging the status quo and confronting stale traditions and distasteful tropes with humor.

We found ourselves in a parallel movement toward Earth-based Goddess religion and ran toward it, pulling each other by the hand. We had adventures.

She could write a brilliant parody song in 20 minutes, read like a maniac, loved opera, Sarah Bernhardt, Kate Bush, Tennessee Williams, and things that were silly. She lived with my husband and I for a little while after she moved back to Minnesota and made one serious lasagna.

She was my maid of honor at my wedding. She was a coach at my daughter’s birth. She led me to be part of a group of women with whom I still meet the second Thursday of the month, even after 15 years.

Then one day she became very, very ill. It took months for her to be diagnosed, and when she was she was the 47th person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with her malady. They were long, distressing months.

After that, her tendency to be non-self-revealing, even covert, as well as exhibiting some other disturbing personal characteristics, left me in a place of pain and frustration that brought me to a place where, for my own personal well being, I didn’t chase her as she pulled away.

I grieved our relationship for at least a year. Then she friended me on Facebook. I accepted, but didn’t engage much. I needed to keep myself distant; I cared too much about her to bring her back close where I could get hurt again.

And now she’s gone from this earth. And her sudden passing makes me think about grabbing life and living it hard while I’ve got left of it what I do, living each and every moment. I am grateful to her for that last gift. I bow to you, lady of the Silverwood.

20 Responses

  1. Oh my. What a loss you have experienced. My heart aches for you. But what wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing – I bet it makes you feel good to document your friendship. Even the hurtful parts. Hugs!

  2. Oh this is just so very hard. I’m so sorry you lost your friend. Twice. I hope the memories of the good times you did share together bring you much comfort in the days to come.

  3. Wishing you comfort for your tender heart. What a lovely tribute to your friend, and may the gift of embracing life hard carrying you forward in beautiful ways.

  4. What a blessing to have had a friend like that. Your honesty awes me, fills me with hope and lets me see the compassion and joy, even in such a great loss. Blessed be.

  5. Kate, I know the heartbreak of lost friendships, and I know the heartbreak of losing loved ones to illness. My heart is with you.

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