Who would have thought that it’s not the amount of time you spent together that matters in the end? The bleeding heart knows. At least mine does.
Since early childhood death is a constant companion in my life. I’ve lost all the family I ever had to it. And I know no matter how tenacious life is, in the end death always wins.
My friend Birgit has fought cancer for nearly seven years. She fought like a lion while I clung to the hope of miracles happening and a breakthrough in science. I tied knots in this thinning rope of hope and held on to it with bare hands.
I laughed more with Birgit than we cried. We shared the fear along with so many happy moments. And some very tough ones. In pain, fear and laughter we were as close as friends can be.
There were times when I feared that she was losing this fight and then again moments in which I sank to my knees in gratefulness that she escaped the claws of death once again.
We were buying time. Then stealing it. Until time ran out on September 24 2018.
I saw it coming while I didn’t see. I always knew this moment would arrive when she would leave this life behind. I thought I was prepared only to discover that I wasn’t.
For the first time in my life I can’t imagine this world without someone. I can’t imagine my world without Birgit. I can’t imagine it while this world moves on as if it doesn’t know that my friend is gone. But I know.
I wish I could tell Birgit now that I will miss her for the rest of my life.
Today I visited her tree in the forest near home. The tree she used to hug and beg for strength. I told the tree that Birgit is gone and patted it. I felt the wood, a slowly beating heart. Like my bleeding heart, beating as one.
We didn’t have much time, Birgit and I. But I’m grateful I met her. Grateful she chose me as her friend. She was a gift to me, one I will cherish for the rest of my days.
I will hold her tight in my heart and carry her with me on every step of my way.