Monday, July 6, 2009

purpose

today should have been the birthday of a very dear friend, Kathy, a co-worker and kindred spirit who in many ways helped me become the woman i am now. she nurtured me in this wacky career, laughed and cried with me when both were needed -- and there was a LOT of laughing -- and emboldened me to believe in myself and my own strength, and championed the spirit of adventure with which we faced life.
less than three weeks after I lost Isabela, Kathy was suddenly killed in a ridiculous, senseless car wreck. i was still so raw from the baby's death, and my desperate grief for them both became inextricably tangled up together. because i had to be the mistress of ceremonies for Kathy's memorial service, i couldn't really experience the loss properly, as my whole job was to keep it together so other people could fall apart. (yeah, i know, my default mode.)
but anyway, it's just been recently that i have tried to start working through the knotwork of Kathy's death. as i said, she was hugely influential in my early career, and she inspired me by example to pursue being a spirited, happy, independent, adventurous woman who drew strength from her faith and her community. she was full of life and compassion, and no one expected her -- of all people! to be taken so swiftly and without warning. it was a horrible shock when she was killed.
but someone -- i think one of her best friends -- said at her memorial service: "what if Kathy's life's purpose had be served? what if all she was here to do had been done? and so she could go?" "now," said the speaker, "no one here may agree that it was time for her to go because we all still want her in our lives. but even if it is cruel for us and we will miss her more in the coming months than we even know today, perhaps there is some comfort in thinking that she left life with a purpose fulfilled."
and so i have been thinking: what if Isabela Eva had a purpose and she needed only 10 weeks of life to accomplish it? if so, what is that purpose? and am i fully exploring the growth i am to have from it? already she has brought to me a community of support and love from both expected and unexpected places. she has facilitated what i hope will be a more authentic relationship with my family. she has shown me how resilient i am, and how strong my marriage actually is. she has let me see the incredible strength and character of her father, my husband. and she has shown me that indeed, the love and compassion of the God i follow is very very strong, and always close.
perhaps this way of thinking, which is some comfort now, will not always be so. but for now, as i try to ignore the ache of empty arms, it brings some semblance of order and blessing to me and makes me take inventory of all that there is to be grateful for. and it helps me think of Isabela as a real part of my ongoing life, not someone i will have to leave behind in hazy memory.
besides, i know Kathy would tell me to stand strong and honest and keep living fully and loving more. and then, with a hug, she'd say "suck it up and smile, girl!"
i will -- but i still miss them.

3 comments:

Kimberly said...

I've been reflecting and writing to myself lately along these lines, wondering about the purpose of all the pain of the last year.
Wish I had all the answers and that I would then never need the pain again. Not likely to happen I know.
I do know this---today hurts me. It was a year ago tonight that Jimmy was born.
What was the purpose? I think it has made me more real. I'm trying to enjoy each day for the gift that it is. I'm trying to appreciate all I have more and more.
I am clumsy with my words at times and I wish I had a super duper something to say that could make it all better. I don't. All I can say is-I care and I love you. Thank you for sharing your heart. It is truly beautiful.

Melissa said...

Oh, this one had me in tears, girl. What profound blessings Isabella Eva brought about in such a few week weeks. Wow, and to think ... that's just what you've gotten from the experience so far. I too could write several posts of what I have gained. I think of one of my favorite Bob Marley quotes: "Every positive thought has a thousand positive vibrations." Know that Ms. Isabella Eva has reverberated into many, many lives. I'm so sorry about your loss of your mentor and great friend.

ern said...

This was a very beautiful post...it made me feel good to read to even though it made me teary-eyed. Purpose is one of those things that you always think about when it comes to losing someone you love, knowing that you will never know the fullness of the answer to the question in this life...but something you still need to know something of, even if it takes a long time. I was struck by the words of your mutual friend...that she/he would be able to come to this possibility so early and be open to accepting it when it's the last thing you want to accept. But I think there is so much truth to it. Thank you for sharing your heart...I look forward to reading more...