The sms was delivered whilst I was scrubbing the floors. So determined, was I, to remove all those doggy pawprints from the tiles that I didn’t even check my phone for an hour or so. When I finally glanced at it, the words said that a dear, dear friend had passed away.
Instantly, I was grief-stricken.
I grieve because I know I will no longer hear that delicate voice, that soft Danish lilt, that happy smile and gentle friendship I have had for the last 15 years or so. I don’t usually cry when someone dies, but I am crying now. Thinking that there will be no more cosy chats over coffee and cakes when we discuss the social happenings of the world. I shall miss that.
You and I first connected in a small folk dance group and seemed to immediately click. I liked that. I thought you were so refined and dignified. Yet you had a sense of humour and used it lasciviously at times, in private conversations! Oh, how we laughed about such things, me trying hard to recite old Danish sayings that I could never pronounce. You repeatedly tried to teach me again and again. You didn’t realise you were teaching me more than Danish sayings in the years we have been friends.
You had a way of giving me advice without it ever sounding like it was advice. It was always sensible, practical and sound, statements that simultaneously reassured and empathised. You listened when many others did not.
You were older than me, so much so that in another life, you could have been my mother. In a way you were like the Mum I wished I did have – but you were a friend even more than that. The age difference was no barrier to the bond I felt between us. Did you feel that too?
I know you appreciated it when people disregarded age or illness and chatted to you – as a real person.
You inspired me with your amazing strength and cheerful, “Hallo,” despite your multiple health issues. If only I could be as strong as you. Perhaps I can be stronger now that I have known you and glimpsed the best part of your journey.
I knew the end was soon to come, and there you were so prominent in my thoughts this morning, just as you were preparing to leave. It can be a blessing to know death is coming and also a terrible curse. My thoughts and sympathies are with your family. I cannot imagine the loss they must feel now you are gone.
Vale Merete, my friend.
As I write this rather sad post, another text arrives. A friend advises me of the birth of her new grandchild. A newborn baby girl named Adeline.
The circle of life begins again.