Bittersweet cupcake celebrations…

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

This should be a post about birthdays and love, and it is all of those things.  But it’s also a post about love and loss, and the way grief can affect us.

The Fourth of July has long been a special day for birthdays in our household; a date shared by our niece, our beautiful old dog Charlie, and a treasured friend, Kate.

It’s a day for kisses and candles, hugs and birthday wishes. A day for cupcakes and celebration for humans and dogs alike.

This year it’s also been a sad day. My friend Kate passed away unexpectedly on 26 October, 2010. At forty she was just too young. Death snuck up and snatched her away in the form of a brain aneurysm. She’d laugh I’m sure, and say that she was one of the ones who died young, leaving a good-looking corpse.

It’s my second year celebrating the Fourth of July Birthday Cupcake Fiesta without her.

At this point I must disclose our secret Motto for Life:

I thought it would have been easier this year. I happily still ate a cupcake in her honour. I smiled at the things we’ve shared, and some of the crazy things she’s done in her life.

But I find myself missing her more than words can say, even though it hurts a little less somehow.

I’m not uncomfortable about death, and I know that all of us are here in the most temporary of ways. At first I was sad when Kate died because she would never get to do any more of the things she’d dreamed about. After a hard life things were finally working out for her, and it’s true to say that she died at a very good place in her life, but with so much more to come, that will now forever remain unfinished.

That’s how it is for all of us.  We die as works in progress.

But this year I realised something different. I’m sad for the loss of the physicality of our friendship. I can’t just get on the phone anymore.  There isn’t someone to go on driving adventures with, or to celebrate cupcake feasts, or to share those special or hard moments in life. I can’t get a hug, or a song, or a crazy dance routine to cheer me up and make me laugh til my face hurts.

I’m sure those of you who’ve lost loved ones will know what I mean.

There is something wonderful about having someone to share life’s ups and downs with, about having a person who knows you well and holds your secrets and is there for you when you need them. Many people find these relationships with lovers and soul mates, or family members, but occasionally we are also blessed to find them in the form of friends.

Kate always loved an excuse for tasty treats and a party.

So this is for her.

Happy Birthday, Kate.

 

And this, because Kate adored Eva Cassidy, and because time really does help us heal…

 

If I have one wish for you today? That you hug the ones you love, that you phone a friend and have a good old chat, that you eat a cupcake, and smile for no particular reason except that it’s good to be alive.

27 thoughts on “Bittersweet cupcake celebrations…

  1. I never had a friend like that, so I can’t help but be jealous. You were very lucky. In some golden moments, two of my daughters are like that, but there’s some things we can’t share. It’s wonderful you have a day to reflect and give thanks for a special relationship. I also love Eva Cassidy, another flame extinguished young.

  2. Thank you once again Nicole for sharing your story. The ache of not being able to hug someone, or look into their eyes or feel their tears on your cheek again, is something which for me has been excruciating and cannot be described nor understood unless one has felt it. I sense I understand what you have felt. Loving hug
    Julie

  3. Thanks for sharing your heart with us Nicole. My Mum passed away last October after a very (very!) short illness and I’ve found the grieving process such an interesting journey. I feel her around me all the time but I have moments of looking at her photos, not quite being able to comprehend she’s no longer part of my physical world. It’s not denial; it’s grief. I’m part of a writer’s group with some wonderful ladies I work with and I found writing about my grief (and then reading my words out loud to the group) was one of the most healing things I could do. I wrote a story about the silence of grief… let me know if you’d like to read it and I’ll email it to you. Big hugs x

  4. Amen sista! The courage to be wholehearted is a blessed gift. Kate was blessed with your love and friendship, and you with hers. Holding you in my heart at this sad time. Here’s to love, connection and cupcakes!!

  5. Such a bright flame our Kate was, and always will be. She would’ve been really proud with what I did last night :) I had a friend over who shares a birthday with Kate, too and we had a lovely night. I miss getting on chat and skype and having a laugh about how stupid boys are and how we could bring peace to the world with cupcakes! Much love to you, Nic xoxo

  6. Kate sounds as if she was very well loved, and I can imagine your sorrow at losing her. It’s very difficult not being able to share things any more with someone who’s gone, a little part of you goes with them I think. I’m glad you’re still eating cupcakes and remembering her though, that’s a lovely way of celebrating the time you had together and keeping her alive in your heart.xo

  7. What a lovely tribute to your friend, Kate!!! Her spirit shines!!

    I use to have a friend like that — but something scary got between us — you know, one of life’s uglies called “cancer” — still, I miss her!! :-(

  8. Just lovely to read your words- tears flowed and I was touched by the reflections of your time with your friend. Thanks for letting us into your life in some of the deepest and truest ways… With all the chaos and calamity in my life till now, I realised in reading your post that while I’ve been single for many, many years I’ve been blessed with such beautiful friends; friends with whom I feel I can bare my soul, be zany and outlandish and most importantly laugh at the silliness of myself and of life in rapturous splendour… Thank you Nicole… I say those words often but yet they could be said much, much more!

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