Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sometimes, when one person is missing...

Cirrus clouds at sunset
from NOAA's photo library

In memory of my friend Karen...

I find myself struggling to find words. But I cannot. I just don't know how. And so I will attempt to express how much she meant to me through the words of others.

"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break." ~William Shakespeare

Karen lost a fight with cancer too young and too soon.

A ridiculous thing to say, really. I don't know anyone who'd ever die and I'd think it was NOT too soon, even if they were 90. When you love someone, you want to share your time with them and when you can't... when they're taken away... it aches.

“What shocked me most was that I could no longer touch him - the swiftness of this loss was like falling off a cliff” ~Catherine Bush

The thing that struck me most when I met Karen is how she welcomed me. Some of my coworkers were meeting her for lunch shortly after she left our organization. I never worked directly with her but they invited me along. I was very new and quite shy around this unfamiliar group of people but Karen took one look at me in the restaurant and wrapped her arms around me in a warm hug. She immediately made me feel included. She truly welcomed me.

You know how sometimes you can just meet a person and right away feel so comfortable in their presence? She was that person to me.

When I met her four years ago, she'd already been diagnosed. But the outlook was hopeful and I thought she would be okay. I told myself that someone my age could not actually DIE of cancer.

We stayed in touch as she continued through her treatment. She always told me how much she appreciated my calls.

Even then she made me feel welcome.

I don't know if I ever thanked her for that.

. . .

"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated." ~Lamartine

French translation, thanks to Mirella McCracken:
"Un seul ĂȘtre vous manque et le monde est depeuple."

. . .

Perfection Wasted

And another regrettable thing about death
is the ceasing of your own brand of magic,
which took a whole life to develop and market --
the quips, the witticisms, the slant
adjusted to a few, those loved ones nearest
the lip of the stage, their soft faces blanched
in the footlight glow, their laughter close to tears,
their tears confused with their diamond earrings,
their warm pooled breath in and out with your heartbeat,
their response and your performance twinned.
The jokes over the phone. The memories
packed in the rapid-access file. The whole act.
Who will do it again? That's it: no one;
imitators and descendants aren't the same.

John Updike

. . .

“Every human being must find his own way to cope with severe loss, and the only job of a true friend is to facilitate whatever method he chooses” ~Caleb Carr

. . .

"...In a life truly lived, grief and loss accumulate like possessions." Stefan Kanfer

. . .

“I have learned that some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet are those who have suffered a traumatic event or loss. I admire them for their strength, but most especially for their life gratitude - a gift often taken for granted by the average person in society.” ~ Sasha Azevedo

. . .

from In Blackwater Woods, by Mary Oliver

Every year
I have ever learned
in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:

to love what is mortal;to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.


Holly (wavianarts owner) said...

Thank you to everyone who messaged me with their sweet thoughts. I didn't expect the outpouring and am deeply touched. Also thanks for letting me know that the comments functionality were broken. (Should be fixed now!)

Mirella said...

What I wanted to tell you is that what you wrote is more beautiful and deep than all the poets and writers you put at the end.

I don't know your friend but this post show how lucky she was to have someone like you in her life. You are so sweet, passionate and sensitive!

I love you Holly... Mirella