The End of all Suffering
Yesterday was one of the longest fridays I have had. I started the day without coffee, and headed into school, teaching through a day that dragged on F O R E V E R.
I think the week was so long as it was the first full week after the winter vacation, which was NO vacation for me. I am feeling a day to myself looming in the horizon, where I head up to Mohonk, bask in the beauty of the mountains, maybe do some cross-country skiing if my foot body can take it (I have been slowly working out at the gym and my body is not happy) and ending the day with a massage, a sauna, and a hot mineral bath.
I checked my cell phone messages. Gary died a few hours before. I heading to my massage, and felt numb- I could not cry. I decided to wait to call the family until after I had the massage as I needed to get centered and be relaxed before I made the difficult calls.
On the way to my masseuse, I put on my Ipod which I have hooked into the tape deck of my CRV. Out of 500+ songs, (I had it on shuffle), one of my favorite calming and beautiful pieces came on.... The End of All Suffering (by Gary Malkin and chanted by a Vietnamese Monk). The storm front was lifting from the mountains, along with mist, and the light shone beautifully over the Catskills. I drove with tears streaming down my face, not in sadness, but with joy knowing that Gary's soul was free from its body which no longer served its purpose.
I am sad, there is no denying that. He was a friend for 35 years. As he lay dying he said that the one thing he regretted was that he never asked me on a date. We laughed as even though I thought my best friend's older brothers were cool and cute (hey, what girl didn't have crushes on their friend's brothers) there was the unspoken taboo of not going there. They were too much like family and who wanted to chance ruining a perfectly good friendship and slot in their family.
We remained friends over the years..sometimes not seeing each other for large chunks of time, but there was always a comfort in our friendship. Once, when Gary was getting chemo or coming from one of many doc appointments, he dragged his sick self over to my house to take me to an appointment when I had my broken foot. Both of us were a mess, helping each other in a very difficult time in our life. We went to breakfast afterwards, me on crutches and in pain, he dealing with cancer.
He fought for near three years, and lived each moment as fully as he could. What I learned from him and from my daughter, is that we must start NOW to live, to really LIVE and LOVE life, because, we never know when we face death.
Though the vessel called his body is gone, his spirit will live forever in those whose life he touched.