Friend’s Last Party
“Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.” ― Flavia Weedn
Ann is no more.
A modest village church is bathing in sunshine. Pouring through pointy windows, it reflects from austere walls and perks up a dim alter.
The aisle looks like a runway. With flowers instead of lights—lilies, roses and chrysanthemums in elegant bundles.
At the end of the aisle-runway is a white casket—a weirdly shaped airplane in the middle of a flower meadow. Ready to take off.
Inside is what’s left of Ann’s body gobbled alive by nasty cancer. Ready to leave.
Unlike the airplanes Ann helped to navigate from her tower, this one will never return.
We are here to say our last goodbyes.
“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.” ― Alfred Tennyson
Not many ordinary people could fill the church to the limit.
They keep flowing in streams–family and friends, neighbors and ex-colleagues. In strollers and wheelchairs, old and young. Settling for the service.
Nicely dressed girls and boys look curiously around from a safety of their father’s arms–they have never seen so many people at once.
“We are saying goodbye to Aunt Ann,” they are told.
“But where is she, daddy?”
“She is with angels now, sweetheart.”
If also dogs Ann cared for were allowed in church, there would be no free spot left on the floor.
I See You
“Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before, Advanced a stage or two upon that road Which you must travel in the steps they trod.” ― Aristophanes
Ann is here. Tall as she was in life, now she has reached new heights. Embracing everyone at once from the above–a privilege of a free Spirit.
Her being in the room feels more real to me than her casket by the altar.
I watch her gazing at the crowd below—an emotional cocktail of laughter and tears. A mixture of sadness and relief. Loss and gratitude for knowing her.
She has no pain anymore. She is free.
Some will miss their girl talks, and Ann’s “men can be such jerks,” exclaim on a matter of relationship’ hurts. Kids will miss their generous aunt, always happy and playful, full of life. Older people–a caring friend and companion who could whip them up.
Some reflect on their own close transition.
My thoughts fly into Ann’s home nearby. I loved watching her in that kitchen, leisurely getting dinner done. Listening to me, while stirring sauce in a saucepan. Decorated in her favorite blue tones dinner table is waiting.
I recall vigorous New Eve parties and heated political discussions–we would seldom agree.“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”― Elbert HubbardClick To Tweet
Being in Ann’s company has never been dull.
She knows what I’m thinking, and we both smile.
Black and white, sometimes to the extreme, Ann always took sides. She saw beauty everywhere feeling oblige to protect nature and the weak. Animals from humans. Fragile from strong.
“There’s a thing that keeps surprising you about stormy old friends after they die; their silence.” ― Ben Becht
She wanted to remember every happy moment of her life–they are still on her Mac’s hard drive. Thousands of pictures holding joyful memories, hers and others. Pictures of the weddings she photographed will always remind couples of their big day.
And of Ann, too.
A fighter, an optimist and a gourmand, Ann enjoyed life to the end. She wanted to be remembered, as she was in life–elegant and stylish. Hair perfectly set. And with a friendly smile on her face.
“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.” — Anonymous
True to herself to the end.
Friendship For Life
Ann took people into her life with an open heart. Me too all those years ago—a scared alien from a planet far away. She threw a bridge over to my island of loneliness. She reached out to me with warmth and hospitality, willingness to help.
True friends are the ones who never leave your heart, even if they leave your life for a while. Even after years apart, you pick up with them right where you left off, and even if they die they’re never dead in your heart.
I don’t easily call people friends. But that exactly what Ann was—a person I could not see or talk to for a while but who would be there for me whenever I needed her. To celebrate a birthday or take care of my son. To move stuff or just hang together. Go for a walk.
… The priest is finishing his prayer, and we all start singing a psalm.
Ann rolls her eyes at a lead singer’s voice cutting through space like a sharp knife cuts through a cake. She laughs and presses fingers against her ears.
A crying baby captures her attention but she can’t help comfort him now. (Do I spot annoyance on her face?)
The priest talks about Ann—the happiest and saddest moments of her life. Women brush tears off their cheeks—you can’t forbid them crying anymore. Crying is good for the Soul.
Ann turns away … not to show her own tears.
The usual self.
Why Are You Here?
We come here to learn our lessons. How to love and trust. Be grateful and courageous. To forgive and become a better self.
When a mission is complete, we leave our bodies. But the energy remains—it doesn’t vanish in smoke.
People we loved, stay here with us in Spirit. You can’t get a hug from them anymore—mourn that. But you still can feel their love— just open your heart and sharpen your senses.
Your memories keep them alive.
Can miles truly separate you from friends? If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there? — Richard Bach
Believing that helps me to cope with the grief of loss.
To make sense out of this messy world.
And stay happy.
All Memories Are Precious
And let’s celebrate our lives and people in it. Those who gave us scars, and those who helped and supported us sprinkling our lives with joy.
And people who did both.
The closer relationship we have with someone, the bigger chances are that they will leave scars on our Souls. But they will also nurture us like a diligent, tender gardener who turns a weedy wasteland into a flourishing garden.
They are all there for a reason—to teach us something we need to know.
Learn your lesson and let go …
Ann is no more, but her smile and laughter, her boldness in the face of death, her compassionate, helping nature are here. In our hearts.
“Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.” — Terri Guillemets
Good Buy, dear friend.
Your last party on Earth is over.
Enjoy the afterlife.