I got the news yesterday that an old friend has died. She was 50 years young, only 3 years older than I. She passed away in her sleep on New Year's Eve. Such a peaceful way to go. And, you have to think when it happens that way then it truly was her time to go.
Betty Jean was a wife, a mother and grandmother. She was beautiful. Her smile and joy were infectious. As was her ever present laughter. That is how I will remember her. Always with a huge smile and rapturous mirth.
She was an alcoholic. She was a drug abuser. She has been recovering for 10 years. Did it finally get the best of her? We do not know.
We had not seen each other in years. Our acquaintance was mostly based on mutual friends way back in our later high school years and early twentys. Yes, back when the days were spent smoking pot and drinking way too much. Our escape. Did she continue to feel the need to escape even as her life became fuller, more bountiful? Possibly.
I've been thinking of my own mortality much too much lately. The cancer scare last month had gotten the best of me. Of course, it did make me enjoy every moment of this holiday with my family that much more. So, something good did come of it. I have spent more time with my 2 boys. They have been good medicine for me. Their senses of humor have carried me through and lifted my spirits when I needed it the most. Thank you, Ryan and Dale, for that.
I have even thought of how I envisioned my funeral or memorial service. (morbid, yes, I know. I can be like that at times). The thought of lying there colorless and lifeless is not appealing to me, plus, whatever would I wear? But, would it be necessary for my family? I don't know.
Yes, a memorial service is more like it. We'll have lots and lots of pictures. But, only the one's where I look fabulous, mind you. And music, lots of music. I have actually chosen things that I would like played. I suppose one day I should put them all on a c.d. so that the family knows what I want to hear. And, I want the room filled with french tulips.-cream, blush pink and salmon.
Mostly I want laughter. A few tears would be o.k. (I'm not that good with people crying around me). So, more joy than sadness would be in order. After all- I've been blessed and have lived a charmed life. What more could one ask for?
Betty Jean- this is for you baby.
When I die if you need to weep
Cry for your brother or sister
Walking the street beside you
And when you need me put your arms around anyone
And give them what you need to give me.
I want to leave you something
Something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I've known or loved
And if you cannot give me away
At least let me live in your eyes and not on your mind.
You can love me most by letting hands touch hands
By letting bodies touch bodies
And by letting go of children that need to be free.
Love doesn't die, people do
So when all that's left of me is love
Give me away.