I’m trying to deal with the particularly devastating loss of my friend and neighbor, Marianne, who passed away Tuesday morning after a 29 year battle with cancer. Like sisters, we shared a great deal of each other’s lives and interests. She taught me so much about living fully, I know I will be okay, eventually, but right now I feel a bit lost.
There’s a heavy weight in the pit of my stomach not only for me, but in my sympathy for her family and special friends. Marianne was one of those rare people who was, to use the cliché, larger than life. She inspired everyone she met, with her empathy and understanding and by her accomplishments: award winning watercolorist, stained glass artist, tile artist, skilled gardener. She was humble, helpful, generous, kind and loyal. She made everyone around her happy. How does one recover from losing a friend like that?
I’m in, what people call, my senior years, so loss is not something new to me, but this one has hit me harder than all the rest. I think Marianne would understand that, but she also would want me and the other people who are having a difficult time right now, to carry on, be strong and strive to be the best we can be. She was passionate and determined like that.
For me, it’s been helpful to have some time alone to mourn and regather my priorities. But not too much time. Keeping busy is the next step. Particularly with something useful and helpful to others. I do have a volunteer job I love. Marianne taught me the importance of doing something nice for myself, as well. I love to read and I’m saving up for a Kindle. I’m probably one of the few authors who have never seen their own book on an e-reader.
I have a couple painting projects waiting. One is enhancing a mural I did several years ago of a rock wall in my sunroom, and another is a portrait of a Grecian statue for my new bathroom. I’d like to go back to stained glass class and make some projects for my family. I just finished a jigsaw puzzle and I’m ready for a new one. And one of Marianne’s friends and I plan to continue doing some of the things we three used to do.
Writing this has helped me form my sense of direction. So Marianne, I pledge to try my best to become a little more like you — to Aspire to Inspire before I Expire. Rest in peace my precious friend.