Not long ago I lost a friend. And then another. And then…another. Still shaken by these losses, I was informed that a cousin had died. It was quite a five-day streak.
The impact of this news left me so full of fear that I would receive more news of a sudden death that I was reluctant to pick up the phone or look at e-mail. I was overcome with feelings of shock, surprise, and disbelief, and as I was out of town with someone who was not well, I was unable to attend the funerals. I felt entirely displaced by this sudden series of events. I had many questions but very few answers.
And then something unexpected and “heart soothing” happened. A friend sent me some photos she had taken of one of my deceased friends. These beautiful photos were from a trip that about sixteen of us had taken together. The photographs were brilliant, beautiful, and filled with the love of life that radiated from this friend who is now gone.
Even though I was far away, these photos (and the memories they evoked) helped me to connect to my friend and to the other people with whom we travelled who were also saddened by this loss. Looking at the photos allowed all of us to remember her together, even though we were far apart. I am still processing the loss of this friend, but these photos, and the generosity of our friend who had the good sense and compassion to share them, has helped me to process her loss “with others.” I felt less alone in my grief.
While looking at the pictures I found myself celebrating her magnificent spirit.