My best friend out here is dying of stage four cancer. I learned the news before my friend’s mom and sister even knew.
We’re close like 12-year-old pals are—closer in many ways than family, but never really replacing it. You spend the most important part of the day after school with your friends, but you always have to go home for supper. Same here.
So it was a relief to me that by the time I saw his sister in town yesterday, she and her mother had already been told. If I were still twelve, I’d have had no scruples whatsoever about keeping the secret. But as a 64-year-old, I learned long ago that feigning ignorance about something as important as this is just one degree away from lying, and lying’s almost the same as betrayal. I’m glad I didn’t face that moral dilemma.
As it is, my friend’s sister and I had a slightly uncomfortable exchange. I know I put her off when I answered that the “bad news” was not all bad. I explained that, as a reincarnationist, I believe you get to come back in a “freshie.” She said that she didn’t want to come back. Life has been a hard road for her and she’s ready for some eternal relief.
Not me, I said. I’m looking forward to my next life. This life is better than my last, and the next one will be better than this. My mentor used to refer to death as “graduation,” and I look forward to it in much the same way as a kid in a cap and gown.
Immediately ahead is a time of opportunity for her brother, I said. “At a soul level you keep growing, even as you’re dying,” I said. “It’s an opportunity not only for him, but for all of us. It’s a time for love.”
At this point she was giving me a “what-planet-are-you-from?” look. But I could tell she was thinking about it. We like and respect one another. I am pretty sure the news is so fresh and raw that all she’s been thinking about is how painful the coming time will be and how much she’ll miss her brother when he’s gone.
Oh yes, those thoughts have gripped me as well. When my friend is gone, I’ll be as torn up with grief and emotion as anyone. I love the guy and it’ll hurt a lot. But in the meantime I will not let the fear of that eventuality ruin the time we still have.
This is, as I’ve said, a time of love and a time for creating experiences to remember and cherish for the rest of my days. If I can help others to do the same, then this episode will embrace a wider circle of loved ones and make this transcendent time seem magical to anyone who thinks back on it.
Groove of the Day