A dear friend of mine died last week. She had reached the age of 83 years and we'd been close friends for over 30 years. It was a beautiful, enriching and loving friendship for us both. I miss her and I'm finding there's times when it's hard to accept she's gone from this physical life.
Of course, as it always does, saying farewell to a loved one brought up all sorts of thoughts and feelings about them and myself.
As a practitioner and teacher of Mindfulness, I find my response to death and dying has changed somewhat over the years. I'm not entirely sure whether it's predominantly my Mindfulness and Meditation practices that have helped me to more calmly accept someone's passing, or whether I'm just extremely practiced at it now after saying goodbye to so many over my 67 years of living.
I do know however, that although I'm missing my dear friend, I'm gently and sweetly directing my thoughts to everything wonderful about her and how she lived and my sadness hasn't been overwhelming.
My friend possesed the qualities of grace, intelligence, kindness and generosity in abundance. She showed compassion towards others and bestowed her knowledge and experience on any who were wishing to receive. She was a wise, gentle and strong woman with a wry sense of humour when she felt relaxed in your company. She always sought to understand and not judge others. She did her best to embrace (sometimes hilariously and with several swear words ensuing) modern technology and took advantage of FB and her smartphone in order to keep up with the goings on of her much loved family and friends. Although she found it difficult, she persevered in order to make communication more regular and engaging as many loved ones didn't live close by. I loved that about her.
She loved nature and animals, her HP and quiet meditations. She adored and appreciated her family and loved and respected her friends. She was always thoughtful of others' feelings and I think the only way I would 'fault' her was to say she didn't realise her valuable contribution to others and didn't value herself, her knowledge, skills and intelligence highly enough. She was often a little amazed at why people showed or told her that they loved and appreciated her.
Our friendship changed and evolved over the years and I was privileged to be a trusted confidante as she shared her journey and came to terms with painful past memories. And vice versa. I trusted her and deeply valued our sharing over tea and chai lattes.
But I guess what I'll miss most about my friend over the years to come is the absolute joy of being in her beautiful company.
The Mornington Library cafe where we shared so much laughter and so many stories will take on a different implication for me now and as I drive past her last place of residence and flip the bird at it, I'll hear her melodious chuckle and be reminded, over again, why I'll always treasure her memory and deeply value her ongoing contribution to my life.
Thank you dear friend, until we meet again. ❤️