“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.