I found out yesterday that a dear friend passed away very suddenly weeks ago. I knew something was wrong as texts and emails went unanswered and phone calls went straight to voicemail.
At first I thought she was taking a time out, as she often did, but as days turned into a week and longer, I grew more concerned. I even called local hospitals to see if she had taken sick. Nothing.
Finally, I reached out to one of her friends, who had more contacts, and, incredulously, the word came back that she had died in July. Likely an aneurysm. She was a larger than life individual who seemed immortal. We had spoken to her just a few days before her death and she was full speed ahead with her work and her projects and her vision to make the world a better place.
And now, that voice has been silenced – though I still hear her in my head, calling me “kid,” telling me excitedly about things in her life. It feels impossible. Impossible.
I think about the thousands and thousands of people feeling like me today. Those who are grieving their beloved family and friends. Those who feel the finality of it all, the deep loss, the questions. Especially, why?
I think about the people of Beirut who are still reeling after that sudden catastrophic explosion – dozens dead, thousands injured; lives changed forever in a blink.
I think about the hundreds of thousands of people around the globe who have died alone in a hospital room after a battle with COVID, with no loved ones to comfort them or see them through their transition from this life.
I think of those left behind and the task of moving forward. Everything in their lives is different, yet the world still chugs on in its fashion.
I know that she is at peace and I believe her great spirit is free. She is very likely having a party with all her beloved friends in that place of love and light. Her light continues to shine, just not in this physical plane.
Nothing can dull that shining spirit. Now that her friends know about her passing, there is much work to do. She was not given a memorial or even a death notice by those tasked with arrangements. We fear that her work and her legacy has been trashed, decades of brilliance snuffed by ignorance and malice. We will now work together to see that some of that work continues, as I think she would expect we would do.
So, today, I light a candle with a prayer for the repose of her soul. Her faith in the next life was strong and I know her love for us burns bright.
We are all grieving in some way. Grieving for those whom we love, grieving for the loss of normalcy in this pandemic world, grieving for the loss of dreams and visions… We need to flip that and re-focus. At least, I do. Our task is to bring love to the world. Through our sadness, new purpose can be found. Fresh empowerment. This is so important right now. Shining our light, bringing hope and healing as we can.
I often use this beautiful piece of prose at funerals. I leave it with you to speak to your heart. Today, I celebrate life.
It is a deep mystery,
This matter of life and death.
That the same person,
Who brought us a thousand joys
Can one day leave us shedding a thousand tears.
So suddenly sometimes,
That we grope blindly for words left unspoken,
And for hugs we need to give, to say good-bye.
And we wonder,
How this thread that holds us all to life,
Can be so thin and fragile.
Until one day we find the courage to accept,
That the living aren’t meant to understand death,
Only to celebrate life.
And to remember that the only real death
is in forgetting……
— Author unknown