Understanding Life’s Hardest Lesson
I recently lost my best friend to illness. She was thirty-seven going on eighteen, with an eleven-year-old daughter. Carol was funny, sensitive, caring. Also a thief, a liar and a drug addict. I loved and conflicted with her, but the love always won out. She’d do anything for me, and always answered my 2 a.m. phone calls. We talked about everything, but mostly our pets.
I knew she didn’t have long. She’d been sick for years, finally on a feeding tube and going to the hospital every other week to stay for a few days while they tried to raise her weight and stop intestinal blockages. I kept thinking about how I’d known her for twenty-eight years, how we had good and bad times, how I couldn’t watch her drown in her addiction to pain medications, and I only called rather than stopped by.
Then she died on a Thursday night at 9:45.
I dreamed about a call with her. It was one of the good calls. We connected; we talked about everything. Then I remembered she’d passed. I wondered how we could be talking. I woke up. The last few times I’d had a living conversation with her, she’d opened up about her life more than ever. It had seemed like she was coming back to life from her sickness, but that’s not the way it happened.
All of us deal with dying differently. Many people rely on their personal beliefs to carry them through losing someone close to them to death. If you have lost a loved one, I suggest looking for things you wouldn’t normally notice. On a trip two weeks after Carol died, I found a stone for sale in a store. She had loaned me one of these rare stones a few years back. It was said to “bring the male organ to you!” I’d gone through a divorce and was ready to start dating. Two weeks after carrying the stone, I met the man I’m married to now and gave her back the mystical, oblong stone.
As soon as I saw them in the store, I had to have one. What I didn’t know was that my husband was in a record store a few blocks down buying a record of a musician whose DVD Carol had lent me and I’d never watched or given back. She used to bug me about that, and he got it, thinking of her. When we met up again and swapped stories, we smiled. Carol was with us on that trip, loving it.
I believe it’s how you look at it, not just beliefs. I think there are signs everywhere the person you loved who passed is around. Look for signs, and when you find them, (and you will), don’t feel sad. That’s my advice. Rejoice the person is still around, revel in the fact you know he or she will meet you again. The people who died don’t want you to be sad. Well, maybe a little, in Carol’s case. She always loved attention, especially of the morbid kind! When those people remind you in little ways they’re still around, grin to yourself, maybe shed a tear you can’t call them and laugh with them.
And if that’s not enough, you can get in touch with your spiritual side. I believe everyone has it. If you pray, say a prayer to your passed loved one. You may hear, somewhere in your mind when it’s quiet, a response. It may sound like a thought. This is what mediums like us do. Don’t worry about being wrong or right, justified or following a belief set for you a long time ago. Death teaches nothing’s expected or known, as does the birth of a child.
On the day of Carol’s funeral, my old college roommate gave birth to her first baby. I have a feeling while Carol enjoyed all of us mourning her, and I just know she did, she also loved a baby was new to the world on that day and everyone at her funeral knew it. The unexpected opens your eyes, and I suggest you don’t blink too much when that happens. And keep an eye out for those little things the passed loved one shows you. They’re everywhere – you just have to be open to seeing them.
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