Thursday, September 23, 2010

on the death of a friend

You have no knowledge of this, but yesterday a lovely woman in Calgary passed from this life to the next, quietly and beautifully. Shelley was a friend of mine from my years in Calgary. She had a beautiful appearance and a heart that shone through her face. Her work was in the medical field, and during a surgery she accidentally came in contact with tainted blood. From then on Shelley fought a battle with hepatitis and many accompanying problems. She lived for decades with awful symptoms and yet remained a giver, one who saw others and served them graciously.

And so, although her life and mine are far apart now, her passing brings me into a common experience of all our lives - the experience of multiple emotions and responsibilities piled on one another and very little room to sort them out.

In an ideal world we would go to the grieving tent when we were grieving. In an ideal world we would go to the silly space when we were feeling ridiculous. There would be a place or space for all our experiences to be processed and held and honored. But the truth is we grieve while we laugh, we talk when we long to be silent, we strategize when we feel little hope for the future.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours with an architect on campus, dreaming about ideal spaces for students to use. The conversation was an exercise in hope. Perhaps a way could be made for space to fit our life instead of our lives being forced into the space that is there. But even if such space is created, will time constraints accommodate the space?

Anyway, yesterday, for me, was one of those days when too many streams are flowing at all kinds of levels within me, so much so that I don't know what the emotion of the day was. All I know is that at the end, in the dark, what remained with me was a great sorrow for all Shelley suffered, and a sense of wanting to honor her life for it was a great one.

PS - one other thought that occurs to me. After a day of unprocessed emotions yesterday I ate a HUGE supper... hmmm. Wonder why THAT happened?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shelley lived graciously and with great faith in her Lord, and she will be remembered well for that and the influence she had on many of us.

Sharon A.