I woke in the middle of the night in disbelief: my friend Audrey is dead.
A young 58, fit, active, vibrant –seemingly out of nowhere she had a massive heart attack and just like that: gone to the next place. She was offered a seat on a rocket ship and off she went, leaving us behind. And a big void.
How could this be? I know many people older, or in more precarious health situations, and yet, it’s Audrey who made her transition. Young.
I saw her last a couple years ago when I was in her Canadian province. We had a glass of wine together and a nice afternoon. I can picture us, still, in the lounge, hanging out. Not knowing that her days here would come to a close sooner, rather than later.
Life is made up of many little moments like that. We do not recognize their significance until later.
We didn’t talk often, but our friendship began more than a decade ago with conversation about some deep issues she was facing, people behaving badly, and we were always happy to meet again when we saw each other in person or online.
Audrey is dead. A woman more than 10 years younger than I. With a husband and mostly grown children.
It’s puzzling and so hard to process.
Grief can be that way. In fact, grief can be any way, really. It can show itself in deep, guttural sobs, a sprinkling of tears or the puzzled question, “How could this be?”
The flurry of shocked posts from friends on her Facebook page has now tapered off. Facebook is of this earth and her page will continue to be quiet now. If her family keeps the page, people will post little messages to her from time to time, like, “I miss you today.” But she’s moved on. And those of us still here go on with our own lives.
I think it will take some time before my brow unfurrows and I stop asking, How could this be?
Right now, though, Audrey is in my thoughts.
Awake, engaged, involved and always evolving, that’s how I will always think of her, sitting with me in that Toronto lounge enjoying a glass of wine and good conversation.
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