I learned today that one of my closest friends is in the hospital, sedated, dying from bone cancer. It’s an odd juxtaposition in my mind since she and I shared tea and cookies on my patio just two weeks ago yesterday.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly two years ago, and underwent surgery, but declined any other treatments. The surgery and recovery were pretty tough. Recovery was complicated by an infection, and took much longer than anticipated.
But I felt her triumph. She continued to lead her friends and clients into the Light. When we talked two weeks ago, she shared with me that, if indeed her back and hip pain were cancer re-surfacing, that part of her was very excited to see what was beyond this world.
She has been a light in my life for nearly twenty years. We were roommates on our trip to Peru to study with the shaman. She gently steered me toward more self-discovery and acceptance in our everyday conversations. She facilitated the Mindful Self-Compassion classes that I took at the beginning of this year. I know in my heart that she is ready to see what’s next.
But, already I feel the loss of her company, her wisdom, her encouragement, her humor. She will stay sedated until the end, because bone cancer is one hell of a painful experience. And yet it is the perfect vehicle for her departure. She was sitting in the sun with me just two weeks ago, and now she will be unaware of the events leading to her death. It will be swift, but thankfully, due to modern medicine, not as painful as it could be.
Although I hope that I get to spend even a little time with her before she transitions, I know in my heart that, eventually, she will be just a little removed from me. I don’t think she’ll check in a la “Billy Fingers” but I do hold out hope that I will recognize her spirit when it lingers with me, wherever I am.
I wrote earlier today about the Buddhist meditation of “tonglen,” which is a practice that takes someone else’s pain away when you inhale and sends peace, ease, love, anything of relief when you exhale. It is a very powerful visualization. I ask that, if you can, please breathe an easing breath for my remarkable friend, Evelyn, and help her with her passing. Thank you.