There’s that special friend and that sacred place -
 a park, a cottage, a lake, a summer camp – where you grew up, experimented, built your foundation.

You spoke of the life that you would make for yourself – the partner – the co-pilot – the kids – the career – the house – the travels – the stuff that makes you feel alive.

When things weren’t going well behind closed doors – the family – the parents – the sibling – the knocking around – you met in this place and that friend took you home until things were better.

And as the years went on and you met the partner, built the career, had the kids, the step kids, the dog, the cat, the house, the debt, the change in the partner that wasn’t really change at all – the one kid out of the 2 or 3 that struggled, that searched without finding, the hugs, the sighs, the “everything will be okay” even when you didn’t think everything would be okay.

The mid-life crisis – the change in career – the affair or thought of the affair – the question “how did I get here?” – the answer – "it’s all laid out – except for the morsel, the crumb you get to place on the table."

Through it all, your friend - understands, commiserates, lives and breathes in what has become your reality. They delve into the pocket of your pain providing comfort and support when most needed.

                                 PHOTO: FRANCESO UNGARO

Life moves on – quickly – slowly – eventually – and one day your friend gets the news none of us want to get and you hold onto one another like an anchor to a huge, mighty boat – but you can’t beat the beast that is cancer or heart disease or some other terrible, undignified atrocity.

Your goodbye is sweet, sorrowful and your friend is at peace.Your heart takes a deep dive into utter darkness.

But you try to remember what your friend said before they left this world.

“I hope I get to watch over my family. I want to see my kids get married and my grandchildren. I want to see my partner meet someone new who makes them happy and whole.

I want to see you thrive even if your life has a slight dent, even if you doubt it will get better. I want to be there for you as you have always been there for me.”

Time passes - Time heals. On a sleepy Sunday you find yourself in that place – that park – that bench in the field beneath the trees.

The sun begins to set and you feel a presence upon you. A silhouette draws closer - it's your friend. Their eyes sparkle and their smile glistens.

                                               Photo by Arto Marttinen
There’s a whisper – a hint of a floating thought that your friend shares with you:

“I discovered something. There is no beginning. There is no end. There’s just the in-between. It’s where we are supposed to be and it’s spectacular.”

Then they vanish into the fog, into the sky, into some place you’ve never been.

You walk away from that sacred place and begin your search for the in-between without realizing you are already there.

R.I.P. to those we loved and lost.


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