Well, it’s happened. That inevitable thing one always knows will. One of my friends at the seniors home died this week. As I think about her and about her death, the sadness I assumed would accompany this inevitability is strangely absent, though she was one of my favorites.
In the few months that I knew and visited with her, she skidded badly from bad to worse on a health and well-being front. It was she who asked me regularly to pray that God would allow her to die so that she could just rest. The last time I saw her, she had devolved to needing to lay down in bed all day and she fell right asleep – mid-sentence – while we chatted. She would pause lengthily between thoughts shared in an effort to rally the necessary strength that next sentence would immediately sap from her. I’m so tired was a frequent refrain. Once, my thigh jostled her bed and her whole body shuddered from the pain of it and she breathed deeply, reminding me of a woman deep in the throes of labour, knowing that it was only the breathing that is keeping her anchored still to her sanity. Her limbs were purple and mottled and swollen and the rigors of daily bathroom use was nearly more than she felt able to take.
And so now she’s gone. Dear, lovely, 94-year-old Frieda. She’s with her Lord now and I imagine that the jolt of leaving that pain-wracked body was a welcome, surprising, delighting one to her. I wonder about her existence now. I wonder so much. And I’m so happy for her.