I share a special friendship with a gentleman I’ve never personally met. Ashak lives in Sydney, Australia. We have talked weekly f0r over two years. Deep, long, soul-searching conversations. Outwardly we seem unlikely friends. He is an engineer who lectures at the university; he emigrated to Australia from Uganda, fleeing the genocide by the dictator Idi Amin. Our friendship is wrapped around our shared experiences: we are the same age; we both dearly love our children and grandchildren; and we both lost our wives to devastating disease. Yesterday was the anniversary of Ashak’s wife’s death. As I well know, he’d been preparing himself for weeks for this day. And he handled it well, planning time for celebrating her life with his family around the world.
I used a special word in that description: celebrating. In celebrating we bring back to mind wonderful, even fanciful memories of times with our beloveds. And by celebrating with others who loved her and who she loved, we are rejoicing for having loved her.
Sally had a very close relationship with one of our nephews. She attended his wedding only a few days after her surgery, and she beamed with pride later that year when they announced their pregnancy. She was a part of the gender reveal even though she was quite ill. That child is now almost 3. But even better, they’ve just announced that he will have a sister. And I can see her now, rejoicing on streets of gold!
To those who have loved and have lost, please allow me to share some words from In A Mirror Dimly:
“The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson once famously wrote, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.’ The coda to the eminent Victorian poet’s line was penned by the equally eminent children’s writer, Dr. Seuss. “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.’”