It’s grey today in Boulder. It’s very unusual for the sun to not be shining. But today it feels appropriate. My mood, my demeanor, I am grey today. The sky and I are mutually mourning the loss of a piece of sun disappearing from the earth. Her name is… was… Simone.
She lived only 43 years, and in those years she had a hard and adventurous life. It happened fast, she was diagnosed in early May and it attacked her with a vengeance. And yesterday she died at 9am in South Africa from an evil force that is called cancer.
I sat with her this year at both of her birthday parties and she declared that this was her year – she felt it! This was the year she was going to meet the man of her dreams, or at the very least, the year she was going to have a child. That’s all she ever longed for – was to have a family of her own.
In the face of death, the unknown, I question life. My former self would have said “she’s gone to be with Jesus” – but I can’t say that. My former self would say, it was God’s timing. And in typing that – I get so angry with my former self. I’ve had people in my life die – they were older, they were grandparents, they were more distant. And while their loss was felt – it wasn’t like this.
It doesn’t rock the core of who I am – like a dear friend who shared in heartache and joy in my life journey. She was one of my first friends in Durban, and she was real. I could talk to her about everything and anything. And in the weeks before we left South Africa we wept together for the thought of being so far away from each other. We both were on similar spiritual journeys – we stopped seeing each other because of our spiritual differences… she was still very wrapped up in the church we met in. And then something happened – she had an “ah ha” moment and our paths converged again earlier this year and we spent hours together sharing in the loss and joy we felt in our own journeys. We shared in our anger and sadness at what the church put on us and how it held us back from truly living a full life. I can’t help but be angry at the church that held her back from the freedom she only really allowed herself to enjoy in the last year. But I am thankful that she had the last year to be free – to choose how she wanted to live, and to die.
Today, in this grey, I mourn my friend. Selfishly, I am not ready to admit to the reality of what this loss means for my life. I wonder if life is about giving pieces of ourselves away. I wonder if in our genuine interactions we leave parts of ourselves with the other. In that case, Simi lives on in me, and a bit of me died yesterday. May my life, then, nourish the seeds left behind by Simi.