BK went home to the Lord yesterday morning. She had been ill for a while now – the cancer returned. I had not seen her face to face for 2.5 years. Weeks back, I had listened to another close friend share about BK’s medical tests and energy levels, which often meant she wasn’t able to receive visitors. And just recently, CH had messaged on BK’s behalf, to say she wasn’t well and couldn’t reply to texts.
After I heard the news last night, I came home and pulled out the copy of Benedictus that she’d given me 3 years ago. Images flashed past in my mind: that lunch catchup; an earlier one where she shared the Pause book with me; our drawing class at Lifesprings; the times I’d watched her train and hold a nurturing space with SL.
As the book covers fell to the table, the pages parted like outstretched arms and open palms, turned to the sky as if in praise. Benedictus had opened to a page aptly titled ‘For Death’:
From the moment you were born,
Your death has walked beside you.
Though it seldoms shows its face,
You still feel its empty touch
When fear invades your life,
Or what you love is lost
Or inner damage is incurred.
Yet when destiny draws you
In to these spaces of poverty,
And your heart stays generous
Until some door opens into the light,
You are quietly befriending your death;
So that you will have no need to fear
When your time comes to turn and leave.
That the silent presence of your death
Would call your life to attention,
Wake you up to how scarce your time is
And to the urgency to become free
And equal to the call of your destiny.
That you would gather yourself
And decide carefully
How you now can live
The life you would love
To look back on
From your deathbed.
(c) John O’Donohue. All rights reserved. http://www.johnodonohue.com
The pages had parted, in praise of a life well-lived. BK has lived so beautifully, and she will continue to laugh with and encourage us, in our memories and hearts.