OK. While blogging my life activities, I've often mentioned going for a walk my friend my Linda.. or maybe taking in a movie with her. I've never shared her whole name, or much about her because this blog is all about me!! That's not going change.
If you own the very first issue of Quilting Arts magazine, go get it. Look up the featured artist in this issue (pg. 52 and 53). That is my friend Linda Stimson. For a while an obsessive crazy quilter. Actually, whatever she was interested in she became obsessive about.
Linda died Wednesday from colon cancer.
Almost 2 years ago she was diagnosed. And at the same time we became friends. It started simply enough. She lived 2 miles from me, would be recovering from surgery for 6 weeks and needed to walk each day as part of her recovery. I walk each day. And I enjoy not walking alone. So we fell into the habit of walking together. I figured, a little karma would help me and when she returned to work, things would fall away.
Darn it if I didn't like the person I learned about. So we continued walking. And became friends. We talked out problems while walking... and shared solutions. We became cheerleaders for each other. I tried to forget that the friendship had an obvious and limited "use by" date, and often succeeded. This fall it became clear that time was short.
And in the last months I've learned about the good way to die. We all think of the ideal as falling asleep and not waking up. No warning, no worry. Here today, gone tomorrow.
From the experience of friends, I've learned that this might be the easy for the person dying, but it makes it hard on those left behind. They need to read intentions and clean up messes that they didn't make. It's hard on them. It's sloppy and messy and gets them stuck in the mourning process.
Because Linda has known she had very little time, she spent her energy and time making sure that nearly everything was done already. She had people assigned to distribute her books, her stuff, her fabrics and trims. She had her "house cleaned" before she moved out. It was important to her that we laugh and enjoy things, so she tried to make that easy on us.
So now family and friends can spend time mourning then gather up the good things and live. We do not need to wallow in the debris. It's a precious gift she has given people.
It's a goal I'm setting for myself. Yes, I'd still like to go to sleep and not have to confront my mortality directly. At the same time, I want to be sure that those left behind don't have too hard a time. So, along with organizing papers for the end of year, I will organize papers for the end of time... I will clean out the clutter of things I'm holding on to with no clear purpose.
And I'll try to count each day as precious.