Death; Grief; Life; Love.

Posted on August 2, 2008. Filed under: Health, Musings, Philosophy, Spirituality |

A friend of mine died yesterday. Please keep reading, anyway—this is not a sad post. My friend went for a regular checkup five days ago. She’d been being monitored for a congenital heart condition. The results of her checkup caused her physician to admit her into the hospital immediately for open heart surgery. My friend thought she was fine; had kept her appointment because that’s what she does. Three days ago, she was beginning to recover from the surgery. She sat up in a chair; was told she’d be home by the weekend. My friend belonged to an organization I also belong to, as does her husband. The group had sent flowers to the hospital. I’d written the card myself, telling her we all were looking forward to having her back with us soon. Yesterday, still in the hospital, she was practicing walking around again when she began to feel chest pain. I’d thought, after such extensive surgery, that she wouldn’t experience that particular pain anymore. Wound pain, of course. She’d have to recover from very invasive surgery. The staff tried everything to revive her. She drifted off, anyway. Just like that. The drama come and gone in four short days.

After my tears, my first, irrational thought was “I’m glad she’d gotten the flowers.” What possible difference could that make now, though? Later, I thought it does make a difference. Anne wouldn’t be looking at the flowers anymore; at least not with her physical eyes, but her husband said she’d seen them; appreciated them. And what’s more, HE knew they were there, and from all of us. And, we knew we’d brightened up her room on her last day. That knowledge does help.

My second, perhaps more rational thought was “I am glad I’d arranged that long put-off lunch with Anne a couple of weeks ago!”  When we first knew each other, we’d get together for lunch now and then. We each got busy, doing whatever, and talked of having lunch…”soon”. A year passed, and it still would be “soon”! But, somehow, recently, after a few emails exchanged about this and that, we set a date, and kept it! We caught up on a lot of things. I told her how I’d nearly forgotten how much she made me laugh. We agreed to meet at least every other month.

I have the long memory of our friendship, and always will, but I also have our more recent time together to cherish. If we hadn’t managed to schedule that lunch, well, I would have gotten over it, because that’s what I do. But it is of great solace to me that I stopped saying “later” and “soon”. Great Solace.

I have lost friends before. I’ve lost both my parents, and other close relatives. I do not like this! I’m reading posts from blog friends; I’m talking to people in my local life who are experiencing loss right now too. I really do not like this! I must, and I do, honor it, though. Physical life is short and fragile. Without a belief system, this can seem a scary, uncomfortable thing. I do believe consciousness is eternal. I took a moment, yesterday, to meditate and concentrate upon the essence of Anne; to thank her for her friendship. I had a sense of her presence. Many would say this cannot be proven; many would say it’s naught but illusion.

Perhaps so. It really doesn’t matter, though, because, as I search my own heart, I feel at peace with the notion of eternity. I listen to my heart; a very wise organ. It serves me well.

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21 Responses to “Death; Grief; Life; Love.”

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This is the most moving post about someone’s death I’ve ever read. I love your take on life and death. Very similar to my own. After my Dad died I KNEW he was with me and I still feel him with me at times. I see evidence of my Dad everywhere I look so I know he is here.

I’m sorry for your loss but at the same time happy for the memories that you can hold in your heart of your friend Anne ( my Mom’s name).

Oh Muse I am so sorry for the loss of a wonderful human being…sorry for her husband…for you and your group…sorry for everyone who is mourning her loss.

What a wise and heart felt post…

This was overwhelmingly beautiful. I’m so sorry that you lost your friend, but the way you view life and death and loss is pure poetry.

I am sorry that your friend passed on. May she rest in peace. And more so, may all who know her find peace just like you did. Memories of the person lost is precious. Am glad you could make it to that lunch and sent the flowers for Anne to see. I am not good at such messages. I hope I have conveyed what I feel in these words.


I really don’t know what to say, but I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

Us humans get used to the physical contact and we miss that when a loved one leaves this world… I know how that is; but her essence, Anne, indeed lives on.

My best to you.

Joan, I read your comment shortly after I put up the post, and I so thank you; it did me a world of good. I was a little too emotionally tender to respond right away, but do know that your lovely thoughts floated into my universe at just the right time.

Thank you, MQ, that means a lot to me. Anne was a joy to work with in the group we shared, as well as a personal friend. At such times it is good to reflect upon the wonderful companions we have, and that includes those on this blog. 🙂

Moonbeam, oh, my! And the beauty of your comment here warms my heart. Thank you so much! It’s always shocking when someone you know dies suddenly this way. I’ve gotten past the initial shock, now, and into appreciating her life, and the qualities she brought to mine.

You’ve expressed yourself wonderfully, Apar, I understand you perfectly. You are so right about precious memories, and about the lunch and flowers. I am very grateful those things happened. Thank you for sharing your feelings. 🙂

Juan, coming from you at this time, your comments are particularly appreciated. I know what you mean about the physical contact. It’s strange to think we can’t just pick up the phone and talk to our friend, or email, or even write a letter. But they are still, eternally, there. Thank you, Juan.

Muse, I am so very sorry to read of your loss. I think we all get so busy and caught up in things in our lives, like work and such, that we forget that tomorrow is never guaranteed. I admire you very much for listening to your heart. I am so happy that you were able to set a date for lunch and was able to spend that time with her.

Our emptiness is the world’s hunger for healing.Your healing attitude in Being will come back to you in kind. Fearless well being moment to moment always

Shane, I really liked the part about the heart in your comment. 🙂 We certainly can get caught up with things; it’s moments like these that cause us to take stock. I’m pleased that you mentioned that lunch. I was thinking about this, and, in a way, I’m almost glad we had put off our lunch for a while. It made that last lunch special as we had so much to share. That’s a dicey strategy, though, and as you say, the opportunity may not be there tomorrow. Thank you very much for your heartfelt thoughts!

tom, hello and welcome. There is poetry in your words. I’m particularly intrigued by your last line! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment; I appreciate it.

==>> I took a moment, yesterday, to meditate and concentrate upon the essence of Anne; to thank her for her friendship. I had a sense of her presence. <<== I love this. I think I understand. {hugs} -C

I am so sorry to hear about your friend. The memories you have of her friendship are something to cherish. God knows the number of our days, but we don’t. We must take every opportunity we can to love each other and help one another along the way. Thanks for reminding us of that.

Your post was a lovely tribute to your friend.

Thanks, C. That’s a nice thing. I know I sometimes have a different perspective than some, but, it works. As do your hugs! 🙂

Yes, teeveebee, the memories are wonderful. Thank you for saying this is a reminder to us all to keep our heart open and love each other. That’s such wonderful advice. And the word “tribute”, I hadn’t thought of that. 🙂

I’m glad that you actually went to lunch with her as planned. Last when my uncle was in hospital, I used to visit him regularly and there was this one saturday that I planned to visit him the whole day but never got around to keeping to my plan and as most of us have a habit of taking things for granted, I told myself I’ll do it the following saturday. But on the friday before, I received a phone call while at work from my aunt reporting that he had passed on. So I never got another chance to spend a day with him because I put off the last one I had without knowing. I still feel a sense of emptiness when I think of that.

There’s a line from a Kanye West song that says “we should give the people we value flowers, while they can still smell them”. So I’m glad you had lunch with your friend and bought her flowers while she could still smell & appreciate them, that alone should bring you good closure.

The inspiration my uncle left behind in me will last forever, and atleast I did tell him that before he passed on.

Great post!

I’ve just read this, and I’m so sorry for your loss.

This post was excellent and thoughtful. It even made me cry a little, which isn’t something that happens often, I can assure you. Thank you for sharing it with us. It is extremely moving. I appreciate and respect your strength and thoughtfulness at a time like this. It puts things into perspective.

Sorry for not commenting sooner.

((( MusEditions)))

Sending you my thoughts and prayers as I’ve just read that you’ve lost someone dear to you. Thankfully you shared those last, wonderful times together.

It reminds me of how important it is that we prioritize the people in our lives, and make sure we tell them how important they are to us. I’m so fortunate that, on the night that my dad passed, we shared a brief phone call that ended in the mutual exchange of “I love yous”.

Three hours later, I was standing in the ER with my mom and my brother, with my dad lieing on the gurney, his spirit already gone. It would have been easy to put off that phone call…that I would have never had the chance to make again.

Your post is a beautiful reminder once again.

Tazzy, you brought up something that I’ve been thinking about regarding this post. I have had other losses in my life where I wasn’t able to be with the person near the time of their death (coincidentally, my favorite uncle was one). I think NOT being there hurts the most right at the time they die, because we kind of emotionally kick ourselves for not having made the extra effort. But we truly cannot know when it’s someone’s time. The best thing is to live ones life as consistently as possible with ones values. The people we love and who love us will know that, even as they pass from this life. They will take their entire experience of us with them. Thank you for sharing your experience with your uncle. It (obviously) struck a chord with me as well. I am pleased he knew he was an inspiration to you! 🙂

Oh, B0bby, the sweetness of your comment, and your willingness to share your feelings really touched me, thank you so very much. You are not late. You are here now, and I loved reading this “now”.

Thank you, Grace! I’m ever grateful I had the time with my friend. I’m so glad for you that you had that phone call with your father, too. I was with each of my parents when they passed on, and that and the time leading up to their deaths has had a profound influence on my spirituality. For anyone who didn’t make the phone call, or have the lunch…I still believe they knew.

((((Muse)))) I’m so sorry that you lost your friend. Thank goodness that you ended up getting together for lunch that day! For it to be so sudden, what a tremendous shock it must have been, and so sad.
Like you said, I’m sure she is still with you and knowing that can be comforting. It’s still hard to get over when things like this happen. The people left behind have to adjust for an emptiness in their life.
((((Hugs and my sympathies to you, Muse))))

Thank you, my beady friend! 🙂 We who knew her are moving along with the process…but it’s still so weird to think she’s not here. I just learned that her husband will still participate in the group; I didn’t think he would, but it’s wonderful he will still be willing to be with his friends. (appreciate the hugs) 🙂

This was very touching Muse. So, so very sorry for your loss but amazed and moved by your solace. Big hugs from Texas. ~jules

jules, a hug from Texas is a big hug indeed! Thank you very much, I’ll take it! And your words mean much to me, too. 🙂

[…] is as much about my friend Anne as it is about the impact of 9/11 on those I knew. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Anne, who passed away on the last day of July of this year. Since then, a few people have asked if her […]

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