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Thursday, August 29, 2013
Of Roses and Carnations: A Friend Went Home
I have a friend whose birthday was earlier this month. I spent her birthday with her and we had a great visit. I took her a big batch of birthday flowers in the colors I knew she would like. I arranged them as she told me which flower faces should be in the front. We reminisced about a number of things, and when I could see she was getting tired, I departed. I remember asking her if there was anything she needed, and she asked for a large type Bible. I asked if she needed me to get it that day, and since I visit each month, she said "no". "Just get one and bring it next time you come". She was well and happy. I see now that this was important. My friend had fought organized religion for a long time, and now was more interested in God's word, and in studying it. It is true that most atheists don't die as atheists.
Despite the fact that I had arranged for someone to call me if anything ever happened to my friend, no one did. I got up this morning to find that my friend had died suddenly this week. I am stunned. Normally, I have a strange sense when this is the last time that I am going to see a person. Perhaps it's from so many years of having been a registered nurse. Perhaps it's only pattern recognition. Of course, I don't have this 100% of the time. I felt nothing during our visit but the joy of seeing a friend for her birthday. All I felt was understanding and relaxation, and I got as much, if not more, from our visit, as she did. Part of me wants to cry in that I won't be able to visit my friend each month, and that her unconditional acceptance and encouragement is gone for me. On the other hand, I want to smile that her passing was smooth and I am told easy, and I know she deserved a safe and comfortable passing. Just for today, I am going to cry. I am going to miss her, and then I hope I will begin to see things as they really are. She spent a life well lived here and stayed serene and graceful with a fair measure of herself intact despite a nasty and serious illness. I am proud of my eldest son who spent a great deal of time with her in these last few years, and I am pleased that I took the time to know her.
Make sure that you touch base with your friends, relatives, and those who mean much to you. We all pass, sometimes quickly and quietly. I will miss you, my friend.