My best friend died on the morning of New Years Eve day. I had been with her a few days earlier, told her I loved her, told her goodbye as I hugged her. I was numb with grief. The next few days before her funeral I stumbled through my days sometimes screaming at her, "Peggy come back, Peggy come back." Some mornings I woke up thinking what a horrible nightmare I had had. I had dreamt that Peggy had died. How awful. I'd have to call and tell her about it. Then as I awoke fully I realized it wasn't a nightmare. It seemed there was nowhere I could go to hide from the pain. It followed me through my days, overwhelming me with it's sharp stabbing. How could anyone hurt this bad and survive, I thought. Then I'd think how selfish I was. What of her children? What of her siblings? Then the photos of Haiti started coming through on the news and I thought of the old adage, I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.
I turned my head into the wind feeling the full force of my grief. Then began the healing. I gathered together all of the cards, notes and letters she had sent me through the years and put them in a 3 ring binder. I added my favorite photos as well, especially the ones of her and I together. I had forgotten how much she loved me. As I re-read the words she had written on each card and note I thought no one could deserve this much love. And yet I had. The searing pain moved into sadness, the kind of sadness that fills all the parts of your body, the kind of sadness that moves like a shadow wherever you go. I thought of the joy she had brought into my life. I thought of the problems we'd suffered through together as we went through bad marriages, deaths, medical problems and all the other things that are the dark side to life. Mostly, I thought of how much I loved her, how I felt her standing next to me so many times in the day. I thought of how the sadness and void her loss had presented would be with me all my life. I thought of how fortunate I had been to have had her. Mostly, I thought of how when it was my turn to drop my body Peggy would be waiting with outstretched hands, with a smile on her face. And I knew then that I could bear the sadness.