This evening Steve and I are going to a very special party we’ve been invited to by a friend who was initially a work colleague of mine. I worked alongside her for six months when she ran a community gardening project in a charity I work for. After she left, we became Facebook friends and she brought her mother, who is a quilter, to my Open Studio in 2013. At first, I was a bit surprised to be asked to her gathering, which has the feel of a very special birthday or an engagement party. I found out a few days ago that my friend has a terminal illness and is bringing a circle of people together for a celebration of life, love, friendship and community. She knows is going to have a great funeral and doesn’t want to miss it, so is throwing this party.
This is such a courageous, heart-filled and generous act. I’ve been thinking about it constantly for the past several days and not only about my friend, who is around my age.
I have been thinking about how rare it is to consciously say ‘Good-bye’ to someone.
I have been thinking about how our society fears and hides from not only the fact of death, but how we fear and hide from our feelings about death.
I have been thinking about how I take for granted that ‘Next Christmas we will . . . . .’ and ‘In May we’re going to . . . . . . ‘ and ‘Sometime in the next five years I’ll make that piece of art which has been glowing and growing deep inside of my Soul’.
I have been thinking about my mortality, and I hope that I will be able to accept and celebrate it with as much honesty and grace as my friend.
Yes, part of being truly alive is making plans for the future, but the gift I am remembering in the midst of this is that part of being truly alive is to ‘live our dying’. It is good to remember that we are each somewhere on the circle of life, connected to one another by fragile threads and held in a state of grace.
On Christmas eve morning, there was a Red Admiral butterfly sunning herself above our bathroom window. An unseasonal reminder of transformation and the never ending cycle of birth-death-rebirth.