Departures, Death, Birthdays & Anniversaries

I took my husband, elder son Mike and his girlfriend Amanda to the airport this morning. My husband is off to Plettenberg Bay on his own, my son & girlfriend Amanda are off to Japan and The Philippines. My younger son Dave is also away, in Vietnam, with his lovely wife, Jüte. It’s their wedding anniversary today … one year since they were married on 19th March. And it’s Jüte’s birthday too. Dave tells of how he said to her that he would marry her only when she turned 25 – and that was the actual day they got married… today she’s 26 …

I got home from the airport, buying the Sunday Times en route, planning to do some things after I had chilled at home for a bit. I wanted to check on Harry our cat, who is an old chap already but he is I think, due to exit this world. He’s not eating, drinking a little water every now and then. I dreamed of him some nights ago, clambering up to a great height, then falling. I was in the bath, open to the elements and watched him falling. He landed on the side of the bath, his paws got a bit wet and then he slunk away. I was watching him in the garden this afternoon, sitting still, shifting position to face another way, then again and then again – I thought of the Buddha facing east, west, north and south as he bore witness to the earth and as he received enlightenment. I hope that Harry delays dying until my husband is back. He seems at peace. Right now, he’s sitting in my study on the mat with the glass door open.

I planned also this morning to phone my ill friend’s son Richard and ask if I could come round and sit with her for a bit. My cell phone beeped as I got out the car on my return home – it was a message from a mutual friend to say that Lyndy died peacefully this morning. Richard was at her side …

I messaged that person back immediately to ask if I could come round – come, he messaged back. There are other people here …

I left home soon after to go to Lynda’s home. I spoke to Richard who said that he was with her when she died, which was around 9.00 this morning. She was at peace he said – she died peacefully – I asked if I could go to her room and say goodbye – but no, he said.

There were many people. I had a few meaningful interchanges with family. Her elderly uncle, so dear – a cousin who I saw fairly often when I visited; another cousin who flew in last evening from abroad and saw her last evening.

So, the cycles of life, all in one day, the 19th of March – a prime number. Life, death, so closely intertwined. Life to be celebrated, anniversaries and birthdays too – and a death to be mourned – a departure –

And while I stick to my own advice of always keeping death alive on one’s left shoulder, my experience of her death leaves a hole in my heart ..

Rest in Peace dear Lyndy –  my friend from schooldays – sadly, fondly, lovingly remembered – 

42 comments on “Departures, Death, Birthdays and Anniversaries …”

  1. An extremely intense emotional day Susan.. highs and extreme lows rarely come together all at once and so sorry for the loss of your friend and also that must be reinforced with Harry’s behaviour. Animals have an instinct that seems more clearly defined than ours and on a couple of occasions feral cats that have adopted me have been very affectionate and then I have found them peacefully asleep. Always heartbreaking but it sounds like a long and satisfying life. I hope he waits for your husband too. sending love Sally

    • Thank you Sally. I had to be out last evening and brought Harry inside, under the table in the TV room. When I got home he had moved slightly and was still breathing. I woke at 2.30 this morning & went to check on him – he had died. I buried him this morning in the garden and planted a rose bush on top of the soil – so he has gone to rest – I agree he’s had a long and satisfying life. I messaged the family who are all in different parts of the world and we are all sad but at peace knowing that he knew he was cared for and much loved. These last few days have really seen the highs and lows coming together – thank you for expressing it. Love to you and thank you again …Susan

  2. Sending you circles of love, Susan. You’ve been a consistent loving presence during Lyndy’s illness. Showing up is the best gift we can give and that’s what you did. A deep hole in the heart at the time of a friend’s death and consulting Death’s wisdom on our shoulder come together. The ego is humbled and stilled in the face of death. I’m grateful you also have young energy in your life with your sons and the young women they love. And, when he’s ready, may the old boy Harry quietly curl up in a warm place and pass gently to the other side.

    • Thank you Elaine for your very moving and reflective comment. Thank you too for sending me circles of love. Thank you for the wisdom of your words. I agree showing up is the best we can do. I am peace knowing that Lyndy and I spent valuable time together and she knew she could call on me to do anything, anytime; and in fact she didn’t need to call. Thank you for saying about that in the way that you did….

      Thank you also for wishing the old boy Harry safe passage – I think he is taking his leave poor old chap. He seems peaceful. Has not moved from where I put him this morning on a towel on the patio when I found him hiding in the bushes – I check on him often, talk to him, stroke his cheek and his very thin body. I have just moved him into the sitting room on the towel to a sunny spot. He will pass gently. He knows that he is loved.

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss, Susan. Even though you knew it was coming, it can’t be easy to face.
    You’ve had quite a day. I hope your dear, old cat is in no pain, but is able to hang on for a bit longer. Hugs.

    • Thank you Merril very much. The funeral service was loving as were the prayers tonight. She was a very special woman. ‘Long life’ – I love the meaning of that saying: that as long as we are alive, we will remember her, or whoever it is who has died. Old Harry is hanging on, in his way, thank you for noting him.

    • Thank you Mike, & a pleasure re airport. I always appreciated your asking after her and Lyndy so appreciated your best wishes which I always passed on to her –

  4. Dear Susan, Beautiful, and beyond language are the journeys you’ve taken these past few days. Endings, eternal beginnings in disguise. Harry, for one reason or another has caught my attention … bowing in each sacred direction, receiving enlightenment, and paying homage to Mother Earth before taking his next journey. Sending you much love, light and laughter to fill your days and heart as you remember with affection your dear friend Lyndy. It’s wonderful to read the beautiful, heart-filled messages you’ve been sent. Blessings always, Deborah. xx

    • Dear Deborah, Thank you – I’m just back from the funeral. In Jewish tradition, the person who has died is buried before sunset the next day. It was lovely and sombre. It was a long walk to the lowering of the coffin with selected pall bearers; prayers; (which there were also beforehand); meeting with many of Lynda’s medical friends on the walk who I know because of my husband who is a medical man; and a long walk back. I am now home but nearly to set off again for a gathering at Lynda’s home at 6.00 p.m.

      Harry is sitting under the frangipani tree – an unusual sitting place for him. No doubt when I go to the bathroom to freshen up, he will appear for the shower to be switched on – his favourite place to sip water.

      Thank you for your lovely thoughts. Blessings to you too … xx

  5. What a complex day, so many directions to look toward and feelings to direct.
    Sending my love to you tannie Soozeeie
    Xxx

  6. Hi susan, life’s like that …. a mixture of everything, anniversaries, celebrations and death too. i just attended a funeral mass of one of my colleague yesterday; and it was such a sad sight to have two deaths in one family, both father and daughter died within a span of two days… its not easy to cope with the loss. I am sure your friend is in a peaceful state free from all the worldly problems:)

    • Thank you for coming by Genevive .. two deaths in one family within two days? Hard to comprehend … my condolences to the family and to you all. Loss is hard to bear, and yet we must – Lyndy is free at last from pain –

  7. Hi Susan – so much …. some sad, some delightful, two hopeful of life to come to our world. Your beloved Harry, the cat, I hope he has a peaceful end … but more importantly that Lynda is at peace, and her family can now remember her and her happy life – I’m so glad you were able to visit the family. Have a peaceful, reflective week … cheers Hilary

    • Thanks Hilary for coming by. The most important thing I agree is that Lynda is at peace – her family too. We all knew her death was imminent – the service is this afternoon … here in South Africa it’s a public holiday tomorrow (Human Rights Day) so time to reflect more ..

  8. Death and dying brings compassion and love and sorrow and loss and grief and also the memories of the times together. With empathy to you…

  9. My Dear Friend,

    Departure is painful. No matter how much we know that life here on earth is not eternal, when it comes to a dear loved one departing, it hurts tremendously, and we grieve.

    I believe life continues on and living here is not the end of anything. I believe a door opens that shadows our lives and invite us into a communion with our Creator, God. And when the time comes for us to depart, we see that light and like Alfred Lord Tennyson said, We walk into it gladly.

    Thus, the value of a love shared continues and although the loved one no longer walks with us here on this side of life, they walk beside us in a world we don’t have access to at the moment, because we’re not there yet.

    In your moments of grief that accompany you, I wish you the peace to embrace the lost of Lyndy so that you can feel the love that still exists between the both of you.

    Sending you hugs of comfort out of good old Grosskrotzenburg.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

    • Pat, thank you for your comforting words. They are wise and mean so much not only to me personally, but no doubt to others who experience grief. There is an other world of which we know little – a world in which grace and comfort can hopefully be found if we but seek it.

      Shalom to you dear friend – and thank you again, Susan

  10. The cycle of life definitely was at work today, my dear friend. I am SO SORRY for the loss of your dear friend. It is hard to lose a friend, family, or pet that you care about. Your friend is at peace and possibly soon your kitty will be up there keeping your friend company. Take heart that when one door closes another opens. I am sending my love and BIG HUGS to you.

  11. My loving condolences on the loss of Lyndy. She will always be with you in spirit.

    Your day has been filled with enough adventures, beginning with your dream of losing your furry companion. I know you will miss your family while they are away. There are times for being alone with our soul. I feel assured that you will gain even more wisdom than what you already possess.

    Love you

    • Thank you dear Marsha for your loving words … Neil wishes he was here so that he could attend her funeral service, but he too is away. Lyndy sometimes did his anaesthetics when he was operating. In a way, it is good that I am on my own this coming week – love to you.

  12. I hope you are doing well. It is hard to lose a friend. I just written a post for my course on dreaming and Norse Mythology about how life and death are intertwined and how all that dies is reintegrated in the circle of life.

    I think you describe it well, to drive away your son who is in the middle of life with his girlfriend, come home, being in the middle of life, and find out your friend’s life cycle has moved on.

    I hope you are well with your loss.

    • Thank you Susanne – yes, it has been such a day in which so much has happened … thank you, Lyndy’s death is still very hard to believe. She will be buried tomorrow which I will attend. I will sit shiva in the evening as one does –

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