Losing a friend

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.

106 thoughts on “Losing a friend”

    1. I think that was a comment given once when we were out having a latte somewhere. My friend had an aristocratic Danish family background so I will take that as a compliment.


  1. My condolences Amanda. I had similar news this week when a long time friend passed away suddenly. Events like these are reminders of how fleeting life is. I’m glad that your bad news is coupled with a good one.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such losses are always hard. And sadly, I at least am reaching the age where I shall have to get used to them. But we never do, do we? Which is quite right for people who have been so important to us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Growing older means that we will lose our friends, Margaret, and you are right. It is never easy to say goodbye. We want things to continue as they were, on and on. Life challenges us to accept ageing and the changes that come to it in our own community and network. Today I feel some comfort by thinking that Merete had taught me all the lessons she had for me in this life, and it was time for her to move on. She showed amazing resilience given the myriad of medical problems she faced and that was truly inspirational. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When I lost one of my long-time friends back in April, I told a younger, mutual friend that it was the sad cycle of life: we lose people we know and love. He’s 29 and it was all he could do not to burst into tears at the funeral. He told me later that, just saying that to him in that manner, made him feel better afterwards.

        As you declared, Amanda, we don’t get to be this age without experiencing a few bumps and bruises, and that includes losing family and friends. I feel one secret to longevity is the ability to cope with these deaths and fully understanding it’s just how life on Earth proceeds.


        1. Life is a cycle of birth and death. It isn’t even, fair or perfect in any way. It is unpredictable, often unfair and untimely. Time runs out for everyone. We cannot control it. Thank you for your comment. It is just how life on Earth proceeds.


  3. I ? – nothing. But William Blake does:

    He who binds to himself a joy
    Does the winged life destroy
    He who kisses the joy as it flies
    Lives in eternity’s sunrise

    Liked by 4 people

        1. Oh Ineke. That is one of the kindest thing anyone has even said to me. Thank you so much! Your granddaughters are so fortunate to have a Grandma like you!


    1. What a lovely thought you have given me when I think of her, Kevin. I will think of her in such moments. In that way, she is not forgotten. I guess that is what some folks find to comforting – to not be completely forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

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