Friday, June 26, 2009

Goodbye Margaret

Recently, NOT via Facebook or google, imagine! . . . I have reconnected with two best girlfriends of old, one from first to sixth grade, Margaret, and the other from high school and college years, Annie. Just when we found each other through old school connections we have had to say good bye, God be with ye. Annie died a year after our grand and talkative reunion in person, and Margaret is in the process of dying and too far away for a visit except by email. My farewell e-letter I share for anyone in a similar situation.

Dear Margaret,

What a loving thing for your son to do creating a Maine nook so you're able to be there and gaze at your beloved summer place as you lie in your bed in hospice care resting and dozing in beauty.

I am so sorry we won't be able to meet in person, but I want you to know what a powerful influence you were on my childhood, mostly one of mischief, laughter and just being girlfriend-to-girlfriend as we grew up together and managed to survive even the gunny sack blue serge lower school uniforms.

You made my young life, growing up in a family where there was love and caring and also alcoholism and anxiety, joyful. Thank you Margy with a hard G as I used to call you.

In addition to you I counted on God. As a kid I would often find refuge from the eternal and everlasting, or so it seemed, evening cocktail hour under a large dining room table where I chatted (gave little sermons) with my imaginary friends and a fourth friend I called God. I'd snitch Ritz crackers from the cocktail tray, eat one and leave the other four lined up on the table's cross beams waiting there for my friends and God. Later I would come to understand this childhood ritual as my first ordination as a priest and a call to a vocation I didn't pursue for years. Being a mother came first (two daughters, two sons, all grown with families of their own.)

That's a tiny but formative piece of my story. I wish I knew more of your story and the joys and sorrow that have filled your life over the 60 years since we last saw each other. I did google you and see that you did a lot of philanthropic work in the arts and consulting. Also your info sounds like you are a feminist or at least a promoter of women's gifts and passions. There's a reason we were such soulmates! I saw your photo in the yearbook and you hadn't changed a wit from sixth grade to graduation.

I hate to have to say goodbye just as we're saying hello again, but such is the unsteadiness of life and death.

Perhaps I will put this in a card also as I'm not sure how much email time you will want to spend as you rest and move into your death. Be sad but don't fret for there is nothing, even death, that can separate us from the Love beyond all loves some of us call God.
I send you this ancient blessing and, although I don't know of your own religious journey or faith, I send it in the spirit of grateful memories for our short but lively friendship.

God bless you and keep you;
the face of God shine upon you and from within you
and bathe you in peace

this day, this hour, this minute and for ever. AMEN

I love you my bright childhood friend.