Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Valley of the Shadow

She slipped away from us so quietly - she had been in a coma-like state for several days, breathing more slowly, pausing between breaths. Finally she did not take another one and it was over.

I find myself wondering where she has gone.

Is there a heaven and is she there? Somehow I cannot quite picture it. The choir part is reasonable - she used to run one and I can picture her doing that, straightening the halos on the cherubim, getting them in line and on key. But I am afraid I can also see her arguing with the archangels, sliding down golden bannisters, colour co-ordinating rainbows, dying her wings bright turquoise. No, not quite right. She's certainly not in the other place; she's had the lake of fire and demons prodding her with sharp things already. No, definitely not down there.

I don't have any idea what really happens to a person when they die. It could be endless sleep with no awakening to pain. It could be a real heaven, not my leftover-from-irreverent-childhood imaginings. There are several religions that believe in rebirth and that's rather a nice idea - I rather fancy her as an especially mischievous marmalade cat, expiating her misdeeds in her past life by making some child or children laugh. She would make an excellent dryad. Well, it doesn't matter, really. She is out of pain and beyond fear and suffering.

When I look out a window, I hear her voice saying how she thinks of us as living in a park - 'a view out of every window'. I look at the paint swatches sitting on my bathroom counter and wish so much I could talk the colour choices through with her. I sit down with a coffee on the screened porch and remember the last time we sat there together. I hear a red tailed hawk cry and think about how much we enjoyed spotting birds together. I try not to cry.

At least I was able to say good-bye. 'I love you,' I said, bending close to her ear. 'Love you too,' came back in her husky whisper. And I do. I always will. If no where else, she will live on in my heart.

12 comments:

  1. Your penultimate paragraph says everything: she continues to live every time you think of her. How wonderfully you remember her.

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss,I hope blogging about it helps in some small way,((hugs)).

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  3. I think it's best to live well and true, and you were true to her until the end.

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  4. Oh, Mary. I'm so sorry. This post bring tears to my eyes. I'm glad you were able to say good-bye to your friend.

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  5. So sad but I am pleased that you managed to say *goodbye*. I am sure she lives on.

    Nuts in May

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  6. Beautiful...brought tears to my eyes.

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  7. Mary, this was so touching and heartbreaking - but just lovely. I'm so glad that you were able to say I love you and good-bye to your beloved friend, although I am so, so sorry for your loss.

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  8. I'm very sorry. This was a gorgeous post.

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  9. very touching Mary, I believe in an after life--although I can't say what it is like exactly. I also believe the we will be reunited with our loved ones when we die.

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