Monday was a day of news.
Sad news and happy news.
The Happy News was when I received a call from Galen’s girlfriend, so excited to relay that they had just been out to dinner and Galen had proposed marriage and she had said yes. They are such a wonderful couple and we are delighted. She was the very first friend that he had ever invited over to our house when they were both in kindergarten. They were not close all of the way through school, as friendships can ebb and flow in those years, but they reconnected a few years back and it is wonderful news.
The sad news was that my friend Judy had died. It wasn’t a surprise, but then that doesn’t lessen the loss. I had called the previous Thursday and left a message that I was thinking of her. A few minutes later, my phone rang and it was her number. Her sister was on the line and explained that Judy really couldn’t speak, but wanted Audrey to call me back. She had me on speaker phone so that Judy could hear both sides of the phone conversation and Audrey would answer for Judy when the questions were asked. We all got caught up in this three way communication with only two voices, talking of life and events, even though we all knew there wasn’t much left of it, in this realm, for Judy. She was frail and could not manage to get around much. Sips of water were all that her body now desired and without nourishment, she was in the stage where sleep was more common than wakefulness. We all knew it would be the last time I would speak with my friend yet when it came time to say goodbye, the flood of emotions filled my vocal cords and all I could say was that I loved her. Why is it that words fail when you need them? There was so much emotion and so many memories flooding my body, the the voice was lost in it all. I did follow up with a message the next day that I may as well share:
I hope this text arrives while you still have the desire to even read one. I feel like there is a slowing happening to you and your body. One that could have the feeling that maybe the rest of the world is just too busy and fast for you now. I wonder if it is like sitting on the deck where there is the slightest of breezes that almost feels non-existent, yet out in the yard, the wind chime rings with fervor or the wind flower is spinning madly. Your are the one quiet soul on the deck and the world is that wind flower – whirling a speeds that seem impossible from your current view.
Yesterday, when it came time to say goodbye, I had no words. It was as if all of the years of experiences we had together suddenly flooded the space between us. The shared times, the laughs, the tears, the talks, the years. It felt to me that suddenly all of those moment hung between us and the only words left were that I loved you. I wish I could have said more in that moment, but the air was so full of memories that it felt like it was better to let that play through my heart and brain and pray that you too felt that volume, than to voice something that would seem to lessen or stop the flow of all of those moments. I cherish the long and short moments we have shared and know that I will rely on them when you are gone from my view. I also feel that while you lose the body, we will not lose your presence. I thank you now for the essence you will still provide to the many of us later. I thank you for your friendship and I thank you for the gift of time in the call yesterday. I will be praying for a gentle transition from this life to the next. I love you.”
I feel like no matter what I would have said, that those emotions were shared and she felt them with or without the words as well. That is my wish anyway.
I managed through the week fairly well juggling the happy and sad news until Friday. The day began with the wave of the feeling of loss that happens as is prone to occur as one deals with grief. It was the high tide in the wave series. One of the younger sales guys got me talking and I spilled that I was sad for the loss of a friend, but quickly added the good news also received of Galen’s engagement (they all know Galen from when I’ve had him help at work) The sales guy immediately got up to give me a hug. I tried to stop him, as I knew that any genuine kindness and sympathy would bust the protective bubble that was imaginary around me. Not taking no for an answer, he enveloped me in a long hard needed hug. True to prediction, it tore through the thin veil and I began to cry. The problem with a small rip when there is pressure behind it, is that it opens up to a gaping tear before it can be stopped. Thus was my day – trying to patch a seam that no longer had good edges to sew. I had friends checking up on me and again, it would bring up the tears. I almost wanted someone to be mean to me so that I could build up the protective field around me once more.
I finally took some moments and let myself feel all of the emotions and put names to them. Ever notice that when you feel overwhelmed and stop to actually feel each emotion and name them, that they loose their punch? Something about calling out the emotion that makes it loose it’s power. I could still fell the sadness, but once I named the sadness, then gratitude came in and shook hands and the two together were like friends who could now share in the loss.
I know the waves will still come and go. I’ve lost loved ones before, but I also know that they will never leave my heart and therefore are not gone at all.
Go Hug your loved ones today.