We have to remember that life comes around only once. So many songs, poems, and books have been written about the progression of minutes and hours we experience, right? Some good, some difficult.
.. “… I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills,’Til the landslide brought me down”, as time moves forward according to Fleetwood Mac.
One month ago, an earthly relationship ended. The end of a beautiful time together came when death visited someone I loved. She faced rare, terminal cancer with confidence. Her ability to look at dying with open eyes amazed me. When her eyes closed that final time, the end arrived. There would be no more side-by-side hand holding. Singing, laughing, and words between two souls drew to a close.
At once, the veil of death draped over that picture I took of our hands a mere four weeks prior.
We sat alone on the back patio during a mid-afternoon break from regularly scheduled medicine drops and difficult eating push throughs. Those sit beside, smile times were precious few moments for us. She was weak, but managed to give me smiles … and I gladly accepted the gift of those happy, accepting grins so rare in the midst of her struggling facial frame.
Our short time together was picture perfect – save the weathered rips and dimples in each of our personalities. She had strong opinions and a dedication to all the colors and hues in her life. I felt a deep connection to every stroke of our brushed experiences together – especially the music we had a chance to create. What we did, when we did – and, if not alone, who we were with at the time – created a special magic for us. A connection. Emotional hand-held moments we cherished.
I saw my reflection in her. Greta’s death brought me down. A landslide of emotions came over me as that picture above appeared among many of us in my gallery. Faces and hands of the Doug and Greta story are plentiful inside this little electronic box full of memories.
Yet, there is an upside.
In many ways, our short story will have a longer life than what we had in time. Ten months was too short. We lived an “every day was special – no sad days” togetherness because time here on this earth wasn’t guaranteed. Calendar pages will never make the flip to 2022 with her fingers assisting. A significant birthday will not be celebrated. Her favorite holiday, Halloween, will mask silently in her memory. Fate released her hand.
As destiny closed its chapter for Greta, it left open possibilities for all of us to consider what time has for us. Specifically, what are we holding on to that has value, purpose, and meaning beyond our circumstances today?
Nothing we are holding onto today is ever guaranteed. The gift from Greta is my knowing this fact – and it is a fact. I often say I am a changed man because of my closeness to her. This is why. Realizing, finally, life is better holding on to what is true rather than wasting time – spinning emotional wheels in the mud. Since there are no guarantees anyway, why not hold hands with something, or someone, adding sweetness to our breaths?
The loss in her death is real, of course. The music. The laughing. Her depth of artistic talent to our community. All of it I was drawn to initially … and the picture finally completed ten months later – I will cherish forever.
We had a special time together. Holding hands was such a small part of a larger experience, however, we knew life together – from the start – was limited. How limited? Well, let’s just say I think she was a bit surprised by how fast the cancer progressed.
From my perspective, forever would have been too short.
Even during some frustrating moments, she managed a few smiles. Those will continue with me as I remember her longer lesson of perseverance and dedication to life. In the course of “no bad days”, we held each other, supported our individual and collective causes, and tested the waters of fate.
A month removed, yet so close it seems only moments ago. Time has a funny way of skewing itself when loss is handed over.
I’m so glad, for me, Greta’s energy is holding my hand now because this would be so difficult to handle alone.
Pictures in galleries are priceless. Find yours and let time be suspended for a moment. Future moments aren’t guaranteed, so make sure what you’re holding onto is what brings you joy.
I had it once in person. Something to be cherished and valued … When it happens, it’s beautiful.