Sunday, June 9, 2019

So Fragile and So Fearless

Hello All,
I’ve been away from blogging and posting for over three months. I spent March marketing my new feline gift book—The Gift of Nine Lives. Then I spent April and early May completing the historical novel on which I’d worked, off and on, for twenty-two years. The Reluctant Spy is now being formatting for publication sometime this summer.

Since then I’ve dwelt often in the deep center of myself where my love for friends resides. There, I’ve grieved. In mid-May one of my dearest and oldest friends died suddenly and unexpectedly. Pat and I met when we were in our early forties, so we’d known one another for more than forty years.

I’m finding this death hard; in the past weeks I’ve spoken with her husband several times, cried with him, and continued to grieve a friend who so often helped me when my thoughts became muddled. With her incisive questions and wisdom, Pat brought clarity to my confusion.

Living far from her home, I hadn’t seen her for six years. But we spoke on the phone regularly. So it’s not her actual tangible presence that tells me she is gone. In my mind—which is having a hard time accepting the new reality—she is still just a phone call away.

As I watched the season’s final episode of “Call the Midwife,” I found myself thinking, “I wonder what Pat will say about this when we talk.”

As I read the latest Jacqueline Winspear novel The American Agent, I found myself wondering if Pat, too, was thinking this might be the author’s last book in the series.

Always, while watching the PBS television programs we most enjoyed or reading the novels by authors that one or the other of us had discovered and shared, I find myself thinking of Pat. Where does she think the series—television or book—is going next? What other program did we see this English actor in?

Over the forty years of our friendship, Pat and I shared many interests. Here are just a few:
·      a great love of animals and a concern over their treatment;
·      a delight in reading well-written mystery novels;
·      a love of correct grammar and good writing;
·      a commitment to social justice, inclusion, equality, voting rights, and women’s rights;
·      a vow to resist bullies and those who fail to embrace the differences that might enrich our culture;
·      a resolve to try to find, embrace, and live the consequences of the ties that bind us as global citizens;
·      and a sense of humor—oh, I miss her laughter and her chuckle.

After living in Stillwater, Minnesota, for thirty-seven years, I moved here to Missouri ten years ago. In the intervening years, nine of my friends have died. Pat is just the latest, but our friendship had grown so deep that my grief has been a little overwhelming.

What always helps me is being grateful that she chose me as a friend all those years ago. I feel deep, enriching gratitude for her friendship. For her faithfulness. For her love.

And I realize again and yes again as I learn of the death of friends in Minnesota that growing older is a matter of letting go again and yes again. Letting go.

I am reminded of the last words from a poem I memorized when I was twenty-one. It is from a book of poetry by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Blow through me, Life, pared down at last to bone.
So fragile and so fearless have I grown.

Pat had become fragile as she aged. She was always fearless. And she was always a friend.

Photographs from Wikipedia