“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
~ Helen Keller
Good Morning, Darling Friend.
My first thought this morning is of you, on this, your last morning. As I lay in my soft bed, in my still-dark room, I thought of how I left you last night. Your laboured breathing, the white walls of your hospital room, the little bubble of peace that you were in, surrounded by but no longer aware of the sounds of distress and traffic and beeping machines and views over car parks and shabby buildings.
Lie gently, my friend. None of that matters now. Let it all fall away.
And let me fill your mind with a picture of all the things I can see and be grateful for this morning, and that I know you will understand and treasure too.
From my bed I can hear the cry of the cheeky kookaburra who lives in the grove of eucalypts beside our bedroom. Mr Grumpy the koala is noisily saying goodnight to the last of his girlfriends. The gentle pre-dawn light is filled with the chuff and click and chirrup of the myriad birds who call our farm their home. Down the road, at Richard and Jo’s, their three roosters are stirring and calling. They are such handsome fellows. So full of life and personality.
The morning’s air is cool, and fragranced with damp earth and that lush scent of rainforest. To be truthful, there is also that hint of cow.
Here, in our bedroom, Lavender and Peace and Calming oils linger on my pillow, just as they do on yours. We are linked by fragrance. And by love, my dear. That makes me smile.
At the foot of my bed Bert is gently snoring and twitching with a little dog dream. My pillow cradles my head and the worn linens that cover my legs against the morning chill are silken soft. It’s a safe little cocoon, this bed, as beds should be. Just as your bed is for you right now. A place to float away on peaceful dreams.
I know you’re there now. In that gentle, soulful place we talked about. That place of peace and quiet and joy and letting go, surrounded by love. I know that you can feel the love for you – here, and where you’re going. It was an honour to take you there yesterday, and to feel your ragged fear and distress melt away and for you to find comfort and sanctuary. I’m right here with you. You’re safe, and loved, and all is well.
Harry and Ben are already up and out of bed, and getting ready for the day – time to check the cows soon and to put the hose out on the mulberry tree up by the pool.
I’m up too. The kettle is on, and it fizzes and ticks in the quiet. So quiet that I can hear the hum of the fridge, the occasional fat drop of water plopping melodically into the soaking saucepan I placed in the sink last night after a hurried dinner. No fancy meal that was – just a bowl of noodles with soft yolked eggs, butter, cheese and a handful of herbs from the pots at the back door of the kitchen. Comfort food. Carbs. Oh goodness, Ange – the foods I will savour now for you. I know how much you’ll enjoy that.
My tea this morning is a colossal cup of Melbourne Breakfast with a good slug of milk. That smooth vanilla taste with the kick of caffeine. I’m in my pyjamas and gum boots now, mug in hand, walking around my early morning garden. I must pull out and compost the sweet peas. They are at their end, and it’s time to plant out my summer flowers. There are mulberries to pick, and sweet Tom Thumb and Amish tomatoes. I laughed when I inspected that ratty old capsicum bush, which is also slated for the compost. What a fighter it is. It must have heard me say that last week. Again! Another fruit this morning, and two more developing.
The sunlight is streaky thin and still silver, but the sky has a hint of gold and purple. Even from here, hidden by the mountain, I can sense the ocean, and feel the promise of heat in the day.
Up in the teak tree the tawny frogmouth owl mother is sitting on her flimsy nest of sticks, a couple of fledglings under her wing. She’s watching me. But you know about me and owls…
I’ve dragged the hose down from the mulberry to the lemon tree, which is covered in tiny perfect fruit. The grass is still dew-covered, and the sweet white clover heads are getting ready for the morning influx of bees.
I’ll sit here on this chair out under the poinciana now, and sip my tea, and think of you. Remember Christmas Day, when you both popped in for one celebratory drink and left late that night after too much champagne and prosecco and food? We laughed so much you fell off your chair. Such happy memories of good times, my darling girl. It’s been a marvellous life – filled with that special richness of love and friendship and appreciation of the simple things. Wonderful husbands, loveable dogs, gardens, good food, music and dancing and surfing and beach walks and bonfires and travel and staying up late into the night devouring the pages of a book you can’t put down.
The whole earth is vibrant this morning as you leave us. Time moves more slowly, as you take a last look around. It’s beautiful here. So beautiful. And what I am most grateful for this morning is that finally you see how beautiful you are too, and that you have ALWAYS been beautiful. And loved. You just didn’t always remember that on other waking days. No matter, sweet friend. You came from love, you are love, and you return to love.
It’s all good. Every single crazy inexplicable moment.
I love you so much.
So, for you, the magical journey begins. That secret journey we all wonder about. How special and fantastic and amazing that journey is. Surrender to that magic. Smile, that you know the secret now too.
I’ve lit your candle, with your wishes, watched over by the owl you gave me.
We promise to look after your man, and your puppy dogs, and to drink bubbles and to have glorious expeditions and delicious food and think of you.
I’ll meet you in the night sky. I’ll meet you in that place.
Love is forever, and I know that you can still receive emojis in heaven. But I’ll miss the ones you used to send me here.
Thank you, Angela, for everything.
I love you. Nicole <3 xoxo