Recently I’ve been mourning the loss of two friends. One has passed away; the other is lost in negativity. I miss them both dearly.
This morning when I was walking Rupert down by the lake, I was remembering a conversation the friend who passed away on my last birthday and I once had. We were very young, sitting in bleachers watching the neighborhood boys playing baseball. She had just been diagnosed with cancer. It was then that we made the promise to attend one another’s funeral….the promise I kept a few weeks ago. She ended up living much longer than she expected to….having two sons after being told she’d never have children, marrying her childhood sweetheart, buying her childhood sweetheart unexpectedly and gracefully when they had always planned on her going first, and carrying on her life to the absolute fullest with not a trace of bitterness, not a regret that tugged at her heart. She held her head high, kept her heart full of love and positive energy, inspired everyone around her to treasure every day and kept that amazing smile of hers on her face until the very end. She worked her way through the unbearable loneliness of losing the love of her life and the physical pain she endured when a stroke ravaged her and her cancer returned.
I wish my other friend could have known her. It may have helped her find some perspective.
Also this morning while walking Rupert down by the lake I was flooded with music of my youth, an old Procol Harum lyric that simply would not leave my head, a song I’d long forgotten but once listened to almost daily. It’s barely known, written by someone I consider a true poet, Keith Reid. It’s called “In Held ‘Twas I” and starts out “In the autumn of my madness….” And I’d love to quote the entire song here but I’m afraid I’d get the lyrics wrong and that wouldn’t be fair to the song. The lyric that kept repeating itself over and over in my head though…..and I can remember my deceased friend nodding as we listened together so many years ago….I could see her face so clearly….
“…wallowing in a morass of self-despair made only more painful by the knowledge that all I am is of my own making……”
We choose to be happy. Or not to be. Every day. Keith Reid knew it. My friend Laurie knew it. Her choice to be happy gave her to power to overcome true obstacles in her life. I need the reminder now and then. And I gently pass it on to others now.