I dreamt of a friend who passed away in October. I woke up with the whisper of her memory just out of grasp. I have no idea what I dreamt about. But she was there. I laid in bed unable to push myself into the day when "I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll" played on the radio. I attended this friend's wedding. Did they play this song at the dance? I have no idea. The details of that evening are as illusive as my forgotten dream this morning.
A year ago, this very friend was in the hospital at this time. She seemed to welcome and enjoy my company when I dropped by, so I went to visit her each day over the course of the long weekend and stayed as long as she wanted me to stay. What did we talk about? It is like this morning's dream. Details are fuzzy. I simply know that I was there and I listened for hints as to what I could bring with me the next time to make her hospital stay a little more comfortable. I brought packages of ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise. I brought Dole fruit with a plastic spoon. I brought a thermos cup for her to keep hot water at-the-ready. Yet I cannot replay a specific conversation. It is all like a misty dream.
This has been a time-of-great-loss in and around my life. People are getting sick and not recovering. I feel like I have reached a new plateau and the view is hard to take in all at once. A person can just look at one sunset at a time. Relish the beauty that is left in its wake and focus on the highlights of the day that was just lived.
I am headed off to a funeral today.
I didn't know my aunt well, but we had the most enjoyable conversation with her this past fall. I sat beside her at a steak supper put on by the community. Our table was full. Four of my dad's brothers, two cousins, a cousin-in-law, my aunt and me. I talked (almost exclusively) with my aunt. I knew that she was not in the best of health. Her lungs were compromised and her oxygen tank was her companion. She had lost an extreme amount of weight and was unable to tolerate most foods. Yet, when she spoke you could not tell any-of-the-above. I heard life, vitality, inner strength and (I suppose) a little bit of resignation as to her current state of health. I cannot remember details. I remember energy. I remember her. I remember simply enjoying the moment. I remember that she packed up her steak to take home ...
Another family has lost their mother. Another husband has lost his wife. Another person is leaving this physical world and leaving behind bits and pieces of the life they lived. Memories.
When the sun sets upon another day, may you close your eyes and sift through the memories you have accumulated. It is within the memories and stories that we accumulate our wealth.
Memories may become as illusive as that forgotten dream but you don't forget the feeling. I woke up in the comfortable arms of friendship. I felt that I had spent time with someone who no longer walks this earth. If we could only all feel so rich.
If all memories fade the way mine have and all that is left behind is the feeling, endeavour to live a life where you breathe in honest and refreshing encounters with those that you meet. Then exhale more of the same.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou