On Saturday, it will be 17 years since I lost my best friend, Annette…however, it was a Thursday evening 17 years ago today, January 16th that I saw her for the last time. Even the days of the week this year coincide with the days of the week when she passed away. I had no idea our time together that Thursday evening would end up being the last moments we spent together and I suppose that made it all the more beautiful. I told someone yesterday that I could not have been blessed with a greater or more perfect “last” visit with Annette. Every single thing that happened that night was beautiful and complete. It truly was completely perfect.
When we lose someone, we long for completion. We long for closure and finality instead of unresolved situations or feelings. Unfortunately, it is an extremely rare occasion when we actually GET the completeness we so desire. I have lost many people in my life and almost all of these situations did have some kind of final closure for me. That doesn’t mean I have forgotten these beautiful souls, but it means that I was able to experience some kind of commemoration of their lives that made me feel like they had truly been honored…or at least I had honored them if no one else did. It is important to me. It is just as important as my perspective on the brevity of life. It is that truth that we are not promised another day that has always driven me to ensure the people in my life know how I feel about them. I am not morbid; I simply think it is SO extremely important for us to express our love and gratitude for those special people around us. It not only makes goodbyes more tolerable, it can actually add a sweetness to it. It doesn’t make it easy, but it does make it more complete.
Annette and I did not have a perfect relationship, but we had a perfectly beautiful connection. And in the end, our final time together truly was perfect. As I reflect back to that night…this night, I am immersed in beautiful sensations. There are no earthly words to truly express what I feel in my heart and soul when I remember that evening. One of the things that stands out in my memory is a song I sang to her that night. She wanted me to put on a tape I had made for her of me singing her favorite songs, so of course I did exactly that. The music was playing in the background but then she asked me to sing along, even though it was already my voice on the tape. There was one song in particular that Annette always loved. It is called “Light at the End of the Darkness” and over the years she often asked me to sing it at church for her. There was just something about that song for Annette that spoke to her and lifted her up from whatever difficulties she was enduring at the time. It’s quite an old song, but it was never outdated in Annette’s mind. I haven’t sung that song since Annette died and today I realized just how much I miss it.
Saturday, January 18th, is a day often filled with the memories of Annette’s actual death and of the terribly heartbreaking experiences of that entire day, but Thursday, January 16th, brings memories of the most beautiful kind. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have been given such a night of perfect completeness with someone so important to me. It makes me appreciate every single moment, word, touch and breath of that night. It makes me thankful to God that He knew what was coming in less than two days so He provided me a night that, for most people, only exists in movies. It brings back the sights and sounds of that night and brings such a sense of completeness that my heart doesn’t know what to do with it. And then it hits me…I miss her so much it hurts.
So today, I have been listening to that song…but this time, I hear the words coming in the voice of my dear friend. I see her smile and feel the warmth of her spirit…and truth be told, it is a special gift that continuously, simultaneously breaks and heals my heart.