It’s been a while since I last posted. It hasn’t felt right but I know that once I get this post written I’ll be able to move forward. It’s about remembering.
I lost a dear friend to lymphoma.
I’ve cried; my sister and I, we’ve cried together; all of us have cried. I’ve never cried like it before and I’ve never been here before, I didn’t know how to deal with it really.
Today was a wonderful day, like a parting in the clouds. We were invited to Sunday lunch by friends. New friends. It was like an opening – one cycle closing and another opening.
After lunch, I came home, found some space and sat down to do a reading on friendship. It came really easily, I was ready for it not to be, but it just flowed.
Five questions came to mind and were written down before I knew it. I used the fabulous New Zealand deck, Songs for the Journey Home, created by Dwariko von Sommaruga & Catherine Cook. My friend was a true Kiwi, a scholar of Aotearoa and the deck fits perfectly.
1. What gifts did our friendship bring? My friend was an explorer and adventurer of life. Here you can see a man looking into a telescope into the stars. That’s him. Then there’s a woman lying down looking out into the stars. Two people doing the same thing, looking at the stars, but from different perspectives. That was our friendship. We had many things in common – travel, laughter, food, wine, family, a shared culture and love of humanity – but we came at it from different angles which were in tandem.
2. How can I remember my friend? He had two lives, actually probably more than that I now realise, but two external ones anyway. He was a zoologist and naturalist. He had a huge love of nature. He was also an urbanite, completely at home in the largest, busiest cities in the world. I’ll remember the two sides of him equally.
3. How can I honour my friend? The Wheel of Fortune – the circle of life. Enough said.
4. What can I learn from our friendship? My friend lived life LARGE. He tamed life, harnessed it and had huge successes. What can I learn? Life your life – he certainly did!
5. How do I move forward from here? Build on the books, take your tools with you, get above it all, look down and you’ll see the key. Perspective is what I need to move forward, if I utilise all of my skills and resources, I’ll be able to find my way through the maze, get to the heart of it and find the key.
I’ve had an image of an advert on the back of a bus stuck in my mind for the last few weeks. I was driving to work and the bus past me. Ever since I’ve been checking out the adverts on the back of every bus that has gone past. The second time the bus passed I was able to get a good picture. The slogan just epitomises my friend, the way he lived his life – always in the fast lane.
I spoke at the funeral, of our friendship, it’s origins, the steps we traveled together and the importance of his friendship to me. There was laughter and surprise. There were things in common with others that loved him. But it transpires, the walk he and I wove was separate.
At the wake I met many people from other walks of his life, most of them from his last as a scholar. He had returned to Auckland for full-time study for a Masters in Maori Studies. The most perfect thing happened. One of his new friends pointed to a bird that was flitting about the trees in the garden “Piwakawaka” he said, “Piwakawaka”. I didn’t know what it meant and looked at him questioningly. “The fantail” he said “the Maori believe it flies between both worlds.” I’ve since looked it up, in Maori mythology the piwakawaka is a messenger bringing death, or news of death, from the gods to the people.
Of course he would have been there, I’d have thought nothing less of him, he wouldn’t want to miss the party!