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Wednesday, May 5, 2010


mommy’s friend
kind generous
talking giving loving
a very kind person
smile give comfort

This haiku was written by my daughter to my dear friend on Thursday, April 15, 2010.

Last week, she left her body; transitioned. In our simple language, she died.

It was a long process. She was suffering.

This life; it was not simple for her. My knowledge is limited; I knew her for such a brief time; but I know that it could have appeared to be a fairy tale from the outside, at least to a point. The reality is more complex; like most of us, the edges are rough.

From the outside looking in, the view is probably a bit more scenic than from the inside looking out.

I always remember the adage “never judge a person until you walk a mile in their moccasins.” Not sure I’d have made it a half a mile in her shoes, even if they were certainly more stylish than mine.

My friend had MS – multiple sclerosis. A confusing, cruel disease that targets middle age, type “A” women. The best, brightest; the ambitious go-getters.

Sometimes, it preys on the rest of us, too. Karma, using my world view. But that view doesn’t make the reality any easier.

I only got to know her after the disease had progressed; she was in a wheelchair, and there was little prospect of her leaving it behind. As we spent time together, the stories we exchanged helped to create a more complete picture of her life before MS. An artist, sculpter; runner; mother; amateur chef; skier; friend; seeker; gardener. A person not unlike myself.

The poem written above; it’s so beautiful. My daughter uses the word “kind” twice; very accurate. In the poem above, I changed her name to “Mommy’s Friend” – she was always private. Her soul glowed (and glows) with a kind generosity that knows no limits; a gentleness that is palpable.

She has taught me many things, even though I was supposed to be her teacher.

She is always more interested in talking about me and what is happening in my life than her own drama. She is full of questions about my children, my husband, the yoga studio. Even in intense pain; dealing with frightening symptoms; a body that doesn’t respond, and often rebels; weeks/months/years without a descent night’s sleep -- she smiled, she moved forward; embraced the day. She never completely surrendered to the fear.

I will remember certain moments. Amazing meals that she cooked for friends from her wheelchair. Always inviting my children to come along when I worked with her -- to swim in her pool, watch tv, play with her pets. How much she enjoyed talking about her son and daughter; the great joy she took in her magnificent garden.

Helping her out of her wheelchair to stand, for just a few seconds at the end of a session, she would gaze down at me and say “I forget how tall I really am.”

There was more to her presence than her height -- she has a regal bearing; a goddess vibe; with the true, genuine kindness and softness of a saint.

But I bet she’d argue that description.

She has encouraged me and given me much more strength than I was ever able to give to her.

I went to do some breathwork with her, to help her rest; she was on new meds, too tired to talk. The soft, sad hiss of the oxygen system groaned on. But for a brief, beautiful moment, she opened her eyes wide. Her voice is weak, soft, strained. But her eyes glowing and vibrant. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but I’m so tired.”

Yes, my dear one. Rest. Sleep. Dream.

Be free of the mechanical chair; free of unresponsive limbs; free of a world so lacking in understanding.

Your presence and strength, they are a benediction to me.

Those who are truly united, are never, ever far apart.

Shanti, shanti, shanti-h,

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