The world lost a dear, kind, bright soul this weekend and is the lesser for it. Those of us lucky enough to have known her are infinitely “more” for the experience. A little brighter, a little wiser.
I wasn’t going to write about Tersea’s passing. I’ve written about her before in August when she was diagnosed and again in January when she stopped working to spend her last days with her family. Tersea was a coworker who became a friend. An unlikely friend, as she lived thousands of miles away in South Africa. But a friend nonetheless. One I talked to more often than many of my friends who live just a few miles away.
I did not want to write of her passing because I’ve written of death too much these past few years. First my mother, then my father—and of course my friend Audrey who named this blog without knowing it. Despite feeling that the passing of a loved one is not something new, I cannot wrap my head around it each time. On Thursday, I could have written that Tersea “lives thousands of miles away.” (True confession: I did type that at first. And had to correct it to past tense.) Now I must write that she “lived.” Here one day and gone the next. That is something I don’t believe our human brains are wired to understand. Because if we did, we’d spend hours on maudlin goodbyes each morning, lest our loved ones become past tense that day.
I could not help but look back over our email communications. She sending me Ram Dass mantras and my reply: “Just a friendly reminder, as we head into August–are you saying your mantras? Because we’re going to rock the house:). All will be well.”
I am torn, today, between wanting to adopt puppies and plant flowers, and wanting to say to hell with the healthful habits—they don’t matter anyway—and down a Big Mac. I think I am equal parts loving acceptance of it all and raging mad at the pieces I can’t understand.
I will not get maudlin here. Instead, I will hold fast to the knowledge that Tersea would love my day today. Homemade pancakes for my youngest, a walk with a good friend and my faithful furry companion, a good book here in the room I do not use enough while the sun warms me. Foregoing the natural mascara I recently bought (read: not waterproof, but clean living and cancer aren’t supposed to go together) because I know I will cry at random times today and there is no need to look like a raccoon in addition to the red, splotchy face I know I will sport. I hope I smile more than I cry, thinking loving thoughts of all she brought to my life—and what I brought to hers.
Just a few hours before my father died, I read to him quietly from “The Journey with the Master” by Eva Bell Werber. Tersea was not sure what she believed spiritually, but I think from her current vantage point, she may appreciate the story.
The Man Who Climbed to God
The man was told that on the mountaintop he would find God, that there he would meet Him face to face. So the man arose early, before the light of day, and started on his journey. When the first rays of the sun came through the forest trees, it gave him joy and he climbed steadily for many hours.
As he climbed, he became thirsty and sought a brook where he could quench his thirst, and while resting beside it, he fell asleep. As he slept, God came down from the mountaintop, and His form was that of a young man, strong of stature, with eyes of piercing beauty. God spoke. His voice rang out as a clear, sweet bell. These are the words He spoke:
You started the journey of the Soul, away from the crowded cities with their glamor and deceit, away from the rush of life as it is lived by man in his ignorance. You came alone to the Mountain Trail as day dawned in your consciousness of what life really means. You entered on the way of the lonely ones, thinking if you kept to the path, up and over the crags of old beliefs and old desires, that at last you would find Me, God. But I wait not there in My high place of glory, while you make the weary journey alone. I saw the desire burning in your Heart, as even now the sun burns your flesh, and I hastened down to meet you, that we might make the journey back, from Sense to Soul. The way, after all, will not be a lonely one, for on every step of the way you shall have Celestial Companionship. Awake! Rise up! Let us be on our way with joy.
You may have noted that as I introduced this excerpt, I wrote that Tersea “may appreciate the story.” Past tense be damned. I know she is hovering near. I just can’t seem to grasp her with my senses.
I have one more guardian angel watching over me—and it is now quite a crew. I will not spend today fretting. Because in my own wise words–we’re going to rock the house. All will be well. Even if I don’t yet fully understand it.