As I begin packing for another trip to California, (of course, that was before the world shut down due to the Coronavirus), I am reminded that this is becoming all too familiar. Not the trip, but the reason for it. Loss. After a certain age, the expectation that we will experience loss becomes more likely, not that it cannot happen to anyone of any age. My experience has been that loss is becoming a more recognizable part of the landscape along the way. We can’t escape it. It is part of humanity; every person in our life carries the risk of loss. The risk is worth it though – how joyless and lonely would we be if we shunned companionship in order to shield ourselves from the sadness connected to losing someone.
The reason for this trip was to attend the memorial of a friend of almost 50 years. Cindi. The math suggests that we were friends for an awfully long time. Along the way, we shared so many adventures together. Our memories included lots of laughing and a bit of crying. From Camp Noel Porter, to Armory Dances, to Blue Birds and watching our kids grow up and begin their own adventures.
Cindi lived with us during part of the time we were caring for my Mama. Her kindness and companionship played a part for Mama to finish well.
Each loss carries with it the struggle to understand why. Why at this time? Why in this way? The answers to those questions are likely not available to us on this side of heaven. I particularly struggled with this when my oldest brother died in a car accident only 8 months after my youngest brother died. He was so young. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandpa – as well as brother. It wasn’t until one day that I came across a verse in Acts 13 that said, “David served God’s purpose in his generation, and then he died” (paraphrased). At that moment, I realized that must have described my brother as well. Even though I didn’t know the whys, I could trust the Who.
I choose to take this same understanding for Cindi. Even though she was only in her early 60s, as a daughter, mother, grandma, sister and friend she was able to make her mark on this world and those around her. Her life was bursting with kindness and self-sacrifice. She gave of herself in ways that few were aware of. Soft-spoken and determined, she would persist until she achieved whatever goal was in her sights.
When we are able to gather again for her Celebration of Life, it will surely contain an element of sadness, but I’m confident that joy will accompany it as well. I anticipate gathering together with a multitude of family and friends who will each come with their own story of Cindi’s kindness as we share favorite stories and memories
I will miss Cindi, but I am so glad that she is at peace and free from her physical pains and limitations. Even though we moved to the east coast a few years ago, we were able to keep in touch. We wove in and out of each other’s lives as time went on – creating a beautiful tapestry of friendship.
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Has your world been touched by dementia? My recent book, “FinishingWell: Finding Joy in the Journey”, is a collection of stories and tips about doing life with my Mama. May it encourage and inspire you to find joy on your own, unique journey. Find our group on Facebook