Thoughts on Losing a Friend
My life is speeding past me to fulfill a destiny I’ve never been aware of or accepted until now. My friends are being thinned out by death as if they are nothing more than stray hairs in God’s eyebrows. Everyone I know seems to be in some state of declining health with a stack of medical bills tall enough to compete with the Empire State building and barely enough money to keep the electricity flowing to operate the computer, our modern day system for communication.
I am at an age that finds me and my circle of connections wondering about how the end will come. The fear of becoming fragile and suffering is never more than a thought away after reaching a certain point in our life. Time is borrowed: there is no question about that. Some of us, if we are lucky, will pass from this life into God’s waiting arms quietly and peacefully as one of my dear friends did just this week.
As I’ve watched friends and family stumble and fall, I have become more aware of my own life, my own compassion, and my own mortality. Maybe death is meant to be a teacher of self-awareness. Maybe we all change our perceptions of what is important and the meaning of success when faced with death. Maybe time and death work hand-in-hand to bring us the gift of wisdom.
Each day of my life has become a renewal of hope, determination, and gratefulness. I am more determined to share my thoughts with the world more freely. I write my innermost thoughts, important events, and personal information in a journal for my children to keep in days to come. I want them to know how many struggles I faced and overcame, how many battles I lost and what I learned from each one. I want them to know how I got around each blockade I encountered on the road of life. I want them to understand that each tragedy and broken heart gave me strength of character. I want my memory to live on in their hearts.
My greatest gift has been the gift of motherhood. I have cherished moments spent with my children beneath skies of blue. I’ve often recalled the pleasure of sharing a song gathered around a fire as we roasted marshmallows. The simple joys of laughter shine in my memory like diamonds adorning a queen’s neck. It is important to me that my children feel the passion I have for living and learning.
One of the other great gifts of my life has been my friends. No wonder I feel as if a part of me dies every time one of them is called home ahead of me. My friends have encouraged me, held me up when my legs were weak and tired, and helped me to find profound peace. My friends helped me to feel comfortable in my own skin.
My late friend told about his adventures with honesty and a sense of remorse for the accomplishments he had allowed to slip through his fingers like water from a kitchen faucet. I always listened intently. With cups of hot coffee in hand we shared thoughts, we shared the news that made the headlines on any given day and we sometimes shared a comfortable silence. I called on him when I lacked inspiration and he called on me when he wanted to be a part of everyday life with a house full of noise and hot meals coming from the oven at dinner time.
He had accepted his frail health and the fading youth he once clung to as fiercely as a tigress protects her cubs. He shared memories of the places he had been and the songs he knew by heart. He talked about the ladies; those he had loved, those he had lost, and those he dreamed of night after night. He learned from mistakes he made along the journey of life and over the last few years he found a renewal of promise in the joy of his own life. Confusion turned to understanding, anger became compassion, and the thrill of the hunt slowly settled into the contentment of having lived a life full of challenge and change.
Maybe music kept him moving. Maybe he finally heard the song he needed to hear. Maybe he heard the song of his mother’s voice softly calling to him from the Heavens. Maybe it is up to me to use my love of writing to immortalize the man he had been before he became bone weary with no where else to go but Heaven.
My life is speeding past me faster than Superman but each day is a miracle. I watch people walking with canes and walkers who still stop to tell a joke and make someone else smile. I watch children playing cowboys and Indians and feel the excitement of possibility stir within me again. I watch my mother struggle to retain memories of the dances she shared with my father, the faces of her grandchildren, and the touch of her mother’s hand when she was crying. I have been blessed to have a good family, wonderful friends, and cherished memories. My late friend blessed me by showing me that even in our darkest hours, compassion, forgiveness, and human understanding are still alive and well. I will miss him greatly but I didn’t really lose him. He just relocated. Instead of talking to me by telephone, he’ll be whispering to me from Heaven.
@ Dianna Doles-Petry