Good Journeys, To a Beloved Friend

Most of the time, I’m quite fatalistic about life, and death.  But, every once in a while, they smack me upside the heart and remind me that these things are supposed to hurt.

This evening, I learned that a very dear friend of mine passed through the veil, releasing her battle with cancer.  At the moment, I’m a little raw with the pain of it, so please forgive me if I’m overly emotional.

Mary was the kind of person who just inspired you to try harder, to never give up or back down.  She had a strength and a tenacity that you couldn’t help but admire.  And a sense of humor that just wouldn’t quit — not even in the face of one of the world’s most terrible killers – cancer.

My first memory of Mary is her mischeivous grin.  That grin greeted me upon my arrival at another friend’s home for a meeting of the local chapter of the Society of Creative Anachronism (a historical re-enactment society).  But it was more than just her grin.  As with all my family of spirit, Mary became a part of my soul — someone who has never been further away from me than my heart, no matter the distance physical space imposed.

Like all family, we had our ups and downs.  Can’t put two fiery personalities in the same space and not get an argument or two.  The annoyance never lasted, and there was never any real anger.  Every memory I have of Mary is a fond one – even the times we disagreed.  Mostly, though, I remember the laughter.

One memory that never fails to brighten my day is the memory of my first trip to a reenactment camp called Pennsic.  I was seventeen, and I’d never been to anything quite like that, before.  I didn’t know that Pennsic always comes with downpours of rain that make one  think of building an Ark.  Our Common Area space was covered by a tarped, PVC-and-2×4 structure with a flat roof.  A roof that quickly filled and sagged with water.  And I have this image forever imprinted of my mind of Mary, somewhere around a full foot shorter than I, with a pole arm (that’s a weapon) in her hands, holding up the center of one of those bulges to let the water run off… Only it ran right down between the overlap of the tarps, just barely missing Mary. I remember all of us standing around trying to keep that bloody shelter up, swearing like sailors and laughing like crazy.

I won’t say good-bye, Mary… I don’t believe in permanent good-byes.  Instead, I’ll say good journey, my friend… While my heart feels the hole of your moving on, and my soul hurts from the loss of your light in this world, I know that you aren’t lost to us forever… We will meet again.  Somewhere, someday… And I will be blessed to have you in my life, again.

Good journey, Mary… may the love of those who think of you light your way into the next life.

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