Aside from my old boyfriend, L, whom I write about last week, I haven’t actively asked for signs or attempted to contact anyone that I’ve personally known who has passed on. (Although I used to have some lovely visitations from my grandfather.) But sadly, a dear friend of mine of 35 years, H, passed away this week. She had faced a lot of health challenges for well over a decade, maybe longer. She had decided after the last incident when she was in the hospital for months, nearly dead more than once, that the next time she got sick again, she was not going to allow the doctors to medically intervene to stop the inevitable. She couldn’t bear another few months on her back in “the big house” as she called it, nor the long slow slog in rehab to get her strength back, to be able to stand and walk again, to get back to a semi-normal life. Whenever I hadn’t heard from her for a while, I always feared the worst. I knew the one of these days, that call would come. Each time she called me, it was a relief to hear from her.
She hadn’t been able to drive in years because of the heavy pain meds she was on, but she was determined to get off the medication, get her license back, and get back behind the wheel. She’d finally succeeded. Only three weeks before her death, she’d leased a car. She knew she didn’t have long to live — her health issues were a ticking time bomb — but she fought hard to stay independent and functional. Being able to drive again went a long way towards allowing her to feel as if she were her old self again, even though she knew it was temporary. Even a few good months, at this point, would be a blessing. On her last evening, she had driven to see her beloved dad at his assisted living place, something which had not been easy for her to do without her own set of wheels.
Coming back home from her evening’s visit, she had a massive stroke behind the wheel and crashed into a parked truck. Fortunately, nobody else was injured. I know if she had hurt anyone else, her soul would not have rested easy. She, herself, was shattered. Her bones were already so brittle, her skeleton was made of toothpicks. She was still unconscious when they airlifted her to a hospital and died the following morning with her family at her side. Whether it was the stroke that killed her or the trauma to her body, I am not even sure anyone asked. All in all, though violent and shocking, it was one of the best ways for her to go. She was in a relatively good place in her life — well enough, mobile enough, to get around; finally driving again;. She was as functional as she was ever going to be again in this lifetime. She had just spent time with her father, whom she adored. As traumatic as the end finally was, it was a far, far better end than a slow, painful death in the hospital, pumped up with morphine to keep the pain at bay.
Her family felt the exact same way. Although H. was a lapsed Catholic (quite a big deal, since she’d gone from kindergarten through graduate school at Catholic institutions), and asked for a Unitarian funeral, in the end, her family gave her typical Catholic send off. Her brother told me he was relieved she hadn’t died at home alone, perhaps not being discovered for days, thus missing the opportunity to receive Last Rites. I am not sure she would have taken that sacrament of her own choice (although at the very end, she might have found comfort in it) but if she was astrally present, I think she would have approved, knowing how much that ritual comforted her family — especially her devout father.
Though I am sad at her death, I feel incredibly grateful that her end was quick and painless and she never saw it coming. If a fortune teller had told her 3 years ago that she was going to die in car accident while driving, she would have demanded her money back, so ridiculous would that notion have seemed at the time, (given her lack of a driver’s license and significant health problems.) We all figured we knew how she’d go, herself included. I am so relieved that it didn’t happen when she was home alone, as well. Not for religious reasons, but I could not have borne the thought of her home alone, perhaps even partially conscious, immobile, terrified, suffering, with death no longer an abstract concept but rather right up in her face. I am happy that she did not have to endure another stint in the hospital, knowing this time for certain that she’d never get out. These would have made too unbearably sad and lonely an end for such a beautiful soul.
H. read/subscribed to this blog so she knew of this project. She knows that I make an effort to communicate with the other side. So I have told her, “If you’re out there, and you can ‘read’ me, I’m listening.” While I’m receptive to any signs she might offer, when I was trying to think of a sign I could ask for, the image of Lilies of the Valley popped into my head. It has no significance for either of us — not a fragrance she or I wore; not her birth month flower — but let’s see what comes up.
I do feel her around me very strongly but perhaps that’s just because I’m thinking of her so much.
Rest in peace, my dear, sweet friend.