The other day, my husband and I walked the same route I had walked with my neighbor Barbara a few weeks prior. But he and I didn’t stop at the bench, as Barbara and I had done, because we were walking to get our heart rate up and stopping wasn’t part of our plan that day. As we passed the bench, I nodded a silent acknowledgement for the lesson she had taught me about living her life fully every day. And I looked forward to seeing her mid-week, when I’d drop off the next box of vegetables that our families share as part of our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
Shortly after our walk, we received a phone call from her husband. Barbara had died last night. It was not expected. It didn’t seem possible. It never does, when someone you just saw a few days before, is no longer here.
She had received the diagnosis. She took the treatments. She had the hope that she would heal. And she had a tremendous amount of faith. It didn’t happen the way she and her family hoped it would. She had a smile that would light up a room, a laugh that was gentle and inviting and a “knowing” that was quiet and accepting. She’ll be missed by so many.
So now, when I walk in the mornings, past the bench where Barbara and I sat that day back in September, I greet her spirit with a silent hello. I once again remember the fragility of life in counterpoint with the strength of our individual life force. And I revisit my belief that there is a destiny… a path… an amount of time here on this earth intended for each of us.
And so, I make food, give hugs and offer some companionship and conversation to the family, as some semblance of support. We do what we can when someone we know passes. We do what we can.