detail from Sovereignty, Cat Charissage (c) 2015
Since the last time I wrote, I’ve lost a dear friend to a recurrence of cancer. We all thought she had more time, and she committed herself to “living every day that she was alive”, as she told me more than once. Then she got weak, went into the hospital, and too soon we got the call that she had passed on the morning of April 10.
Though I was very sad, I didn’t cry until her funeral in the overflowing church where I heard over and over how much she had influenced so many people for the good in her 48 years. She was a home-maker who home educated her now (barely) grown children, and close to 500 people were there at her celebration of life.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good life, how to have a death that is as good as possible, if it’s possible to live without regrets, and, amusingly enough, how many people will come to my own funeral — hopefully in the far, far distant future! Because I’ve moved many times in my adult life and have very little extended family, I’ve left many friends in cities far, far away. I don’t want to move any more, or else my funeral will be attended by only a few new friends!
I’ve been thinking of how so many of us have such challenges and difficulties in our daily lives, how we worry, understandably, about our children and about our elders. Daily life is filled with such maintenance and routine that I’m hardly ever doing all that I think I can to let people know I love them, to laugh enough with friends, and just hang out with family.
Yet in the midst of of this, the chickadees have returned this year to the caragana bush outside the window of my study. Soon the growing green leaves will hide them, though I’ll still be able to hear them. The warming days have brought me such joy; I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a springtime quite as much as this year. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a springtime as much as this year.
I hope our April showers are over. I hope you’ve had a good spring. May we all create good summers.
Thank you for reading; thank you for your support.
Oh Cat! I have noticed the birds way more than the flowers this Spring. Their songs and just seeing them has been like counting many, many blessings in my life. Thank you for sharing the thoughts about living each day to the fullest that your friend gifted to you! As for your ponderings about how many may come to your far in the future funeral I have decided if there were no memorial service after I am gone. The memories I have shared with my far flung friends will come into their hearts wherever they are when they hear of my passing on into the next realm. Your life has touched so many and each one of them holds treasured memories of precious moments y’all have shared. Just keep creating those precious moments whenever and wherever you can and the string that holds the beads of your days will tell your life’s stories and bring joy to all who know you. It is the love we share that matters most ! Don’t ya think?
Our friend taught us so much about living life to the fullest and perhaps her death is bringing vibrancy to our surroundings as I too am noticing our springtime loveliness more than I have in the past.
As always, well written prose that captures so many emotions!
Dear Cat : you are such kind presence in life
I am glad that i met you. Sorry for your friend’s death. I am glad you are ALive! Thank you for writing this note of hope. Everything will be well. Sending love to you!
I was sad to hear of your dear friend; life is so fragile and so filled with wonders, it sounds like she filled her life with meaning on earth. I, too, have enjoyed this Spring more than ever, and in spite of medical issues, worries and problems, there are still many moments of peace and wonder- I try to make the best of them.
Your ‘April showers’ always give me food for thought.
……and Cat. not to worry, when the time comes, there will be an overflow of people who will sadly, but joyfully reminisce about all you meant to them.