I lost a friend to cancer yesterday afternoon.
She was in her early 50’s.
I don’t really know what to think or what to say. I feel sad, a deep feeling of loss but nowhere near as great as what my friend’s husband, son, sister and family are experiencing right now.
I keep thinking, “What can I do to be useful?” All I can think of is that I can be there, when ever needed. Or I can just be there.
My friend devoted her time to helping people, selflessly spending hours organizing many amazing events so others could be happy. She was caring, kind, warm, compassionate and a lot of fun to be with. She fought breast cancer several years ago and seemed to have succeeded until just over a year ago things took a bad turn. She and her husband did all they could to overcome many setbacks, continually maintaining a brave and positive outlook. I feel she has gone too soon. Do I have a right to feel this way?
So if things happen for a reason, what is the reason?
Does there have to be a reason?
In my head I know life ends. My heart tells me it should only end after the ‘right’ period of time. Who decides that ‘right’ time? And what happens when, according to me, the time is not right?
The grieving process as described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is:
By understanding this cycle it provides some guidance for carers and friends to help and understand the bereaved and all they may go through so that carers can support them through their loss.
Stories of how we cope with loss give us strength to carry on. A friend told me that after his Mother passed away last year, what comforts him is that he keeps the candle from her funeral mass in his office. He wondered what to do with the candle and a close cousin told him that it is very special, with its own power. She advised to light it whenever he needed something and his Mother would be there to help, like she always was in life. Now, when special needs arise he lights that candle and asks for her to watch over.
I keep an 8″ x 10″ photo portrait of my Mother, who passed away 4 years ago, on a side table in my living room. There is a small candle in a gold candle holder in front of it. Mum has a beautiful, mischievous smile in this photo. When I need to talk to her, her eyes in this photo appear to sparkle at me and I know she is listening.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said, “If not for death, would we appreciate life?”
I think I know what I feel right now. I feel grateful for having had the privilege of being a small part of my friend’s life. In her passing, she has given me a gift of appreciation and reinforcement of the fact that it is important to let people know how important they are to you when they are with you. Not when the time is ‘right.’ The right time is always Now. Now, this moment, this is the present. This is the gift, from this beautiful woman, to all of us.
I will miss my friend.