Anniversary of death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day when the last fires will wave to me and the silence will set out. So wrote American poet W.S. Merwin, in his poem For the anniversary of my death.

I thought of him today as I remembered my bestie, Lori, who died this day seven years ago after a short but traumatic illness, her miraculous recovery more a delayed departure. It was her time. Earlier this month, Merwin died, too. He was 92. Lori was 49. The whys and wherefores of death defeat me. Why some are chosen earlier than others I have no clue. I believe we get our allotted time and while I would very much like to believe the fortune teller who told me years ago that I’d live till I’m 87, I have no idea when my time will be up. But it fascinates me to think that on one particular day of the year, I might be remembered by more people than usual.

I think of Lori regularly. Not every day, but regularly. I associate her with Mexican food; she’s the one who got me started. When I was living in Alaska, she once FedEx’ed me three fat carne asada burritos from my favourite burrito joint in San Franciso. And whenever I make Mexican eggs (her version of huevos rancheros), we have quite the conversation. We had some good times and even if months or years went by without us catching up in person, it always felt like yesterday. Before she died she’d bought a ticket to come to visit me in Budapest. We’d planned the trip, mapped out the cities she wanted to visit (Prague was her No. 1), booked the trains and hotels, and then she got sick. A few weeks later she was gone.

If I don’t think about Lori for a week or so, she nudges me. Something will happen to remind me of something she said or did, a time we shared, a fight we had. Today, for instance, we took a tour of the protected areas of the Kis-Balaton conservation area (more on that later). All the while we were there, we were followed by a Marsh Harrier. Himself and CE might tell you that it was a different one pointed out to us each time, but I’m convinced it was Lori saying hi, marking her day. And while after-death communication (ADC) is most common in the following 3 to 15 days, who’s to say they can’t pop back occasionally to say hello.

I’m glad I believe that people are never really gone as long as their spirit is alive, as long as their name is spoken, as long as they’re remembered. I can’t imagine what it would be like to believe otherwise.

Thanks, my friend, for popping by.



5 Responses

  1. My mother always turned first to the obits page of the weekly local newspaper, “To find out if I’m still alive.” Now I understand, having seen too many good friends go in the last decade. A harrier in flight, or any reminder of old mates is a sweet thing. As you say, as long as we speak their name, they live on.

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