The death of a friend

A second is all it takes to go from living to dead. Getting there may be a journey of years of suffering. Other times a person remains healthy up until one dies.

This week I attended the funeral of a good friend. A few weeks before that my friend was diagnosed with acute liver cancer and told she had weeks left to live. By the time I found out, she had less than four days left of her life. Death held no fears for my friend. For her, this was a long-awaited moment. Just shy of eight years previously, her husband died (also from cancer). She missed him quite a bit and believed that she would join him in the spirit world. They were both Mormons, and Mormons believe in eternal marriage and families.

She and her husband were two of the kindest people I have ever known. Both were quietly engaged in making the world a better place for their families and others. I had gotten to know her well some years before, back when I was an active Mormon. She was one of my Visiting Teachers, i.e. two women who are responsible for the well-being of the female members in their district. We enjoyed getting to know each other. When her husband was going through his long and painful dying I was able to “be there” for her. Once I dropped out of the church, she/we kept in contact, and I had last heard from her a short while before she died.

At her funeral, a grandchild described my friend as one of the invisible ones. One of those who is kind without expecting acknowledgement or praise. I wept at her funeral and will miss this woman who lived her life according to the Golden rule:

“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” and “One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.” (Anthony Flew)