Something So Strong

I have never participated in a WordPress Daily Prompt before, but at this time of year, I am adrift on a sea of memories.  This prompt spoke to me.

On a warm summer day, against a stunning backdrop of shimmering red rocks, I spotted you sitting alone, listening to the music wafting through space.  It seemed my soul already knew you and raced to greet yours before my feet could carry me to your side.  Everything around me seemed to slow as our eyes met and introductions were made.  Deep within I knew ours was to be a lifelong friendship, even if you had yet to make this discovery.  I seldom left your side that day and quickly learned that on the surface we seemed to have little in common, mine a life revolving around finance, yours that of talented musician and artist.

No one could have guessed the depths our friendship would reach, something so strong drawing me back time and again to your beautiful melancholy smile. With each visit, familiarity gained momentum.  Vulnerability and timidity gave way to raw honesty as we explored our feelings, new discoveries about each other and ourselves unraveling.  A piece of my soul that had been lost once again had found its rightful place.

Yours was a life of great struggle Barb, a battle difficult to witness at times. However, even during some of your darker days, which brought forth tears of anger and frustration, I always felt a calm countenance within you, ready to face whatever life had yet in store for you.  Some of my most cherished memories will always be those rather prosaic tasks we shared that so many of us take for granted, exercises you coveted as your body began to turn against you. Greeting you in the morning and gently lifting you into your wheelchair, brushing your beautiful blond hair as you silently cried, seeking acceptance of the terrible affliction that had wracked your body, showering you as you struggled with the humiliation of feeling your dignity slip away, and sitting at your feet reading to you when you could no longer turn the pages on your own are intimate moments that have become encapsulated in my heart.

You left us much too soon Barb, long before any of us were ready.  There were stories still to be told and lessons for you to teach us, other lives for you to touch.  But you knew it was your time and with that same courage with which you faced your illness, you moved into the next life.

On this eve of your passing, I cannot believe three years have slipped by so swiftly.  The pain of your absence can still take my breath away.  But something so strong as your passion for life amidst your formidable trials has left me with the awareness that any obstacle can be overcome.

As I reflect upon our time together, a myriad of emotions swirl around, moments of profound joy, deep wells of sadness, contemplative stillness, and always the knowledge that we will meet again.  Until that time arrives ~ rest in peace my anam cara.

Beloved friend Barbara Burke
Beloved friend Barbara Burke
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