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in memoriam

2005-06-22 - 2:18 p.m.

I was going to write a perfectly scathing entry about being overcharged for grilled chicken at the beach, but last night my cellphone rang. Instead of ignoring it, as I often do, I picked it up and saw it was my dear friend R. calling. I haven't heard from R in almost eight months. I knew her mom had been dying, to put it bluntly, so I had a bad feeling about this phone call. Sure enough, R was calling to tell me her mom had passed away that morning.

We talked for a little bit while Prince R checked out hotels in the hope that we could go up for this morning's services. R seemed pretty dazed, but very grateful for mother's life and for the swiftness of her mother's passing. We're going to try to head up this weekend or next to spend some time with R and her dad.

So I've been wandering around all day in a kind of contemplative mood. I've been listening to the Faure Requiem and also Brahm's German Requiem, just trying to celebrate a life I never really knew. It's odd, because I feel as though I knew R's mom, and as I said to her last night, our souls knew each other.

I've been very fortunate to have remained so untouched by death at my age. Even when my grandfather died, although I miss him and mourn him still, he died as an old, old man who had lived a rich and full life (even though his last years were not the best). But I've never had anyone in my family die in an untimely way. I've never had to face the prospect of getting married or having children without my parents or my husband's parents. But my heart still grieves now for my very dear friend, and although I know she is rejoicing now that her mother is at peace and out of pain, I also know there will inevitably come a time when the absence of her mother must come upon her like a frantic hole which has no end. I hope that I can be there for her in those moments.

Death remains a mystery to me on the most fundamental levels. I do not believe our souls are extinguished at the moment of our passing, but I'd be hard-pressed to articulate what I feel happens. I don't believe in a conventional heaven, but rather that we are reabsorbed into the fabric of the universe, into the Great Creator. It is a holy mystery, a sorrowful miracle, this lifting of the veil between finite and infinite. I wish Leonore P. a peaceful journey upon the paths she now treads.


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