Today marks the ten year anniversary of my dear friend, Claire Rudholm's death. She was just shy of her 33rd birthday. She was all sass, God, and wonder. We traveled backwoods together, slept on ashram floors, rolled our eyes during the most inappropriate times, gossiped about swamis across oceans (she would kill me today if she saw that I just wrote that publicly), ate a lot of dosas, made fun of each other's crushes, grew apart, and back together in her final weeks.
I miss her every day and know my understanding of dying and living would not be as clear as it is today had it not been for her. I rest in the fact that everything is temporary, and none more so than this lifetime. May you all be doing exactly what you should be doing in life, loving the people you are with, and letting go of the negative things that take up your precious life real estate. Life is so much better when we are surrounded by love, first from ourselves and second, from the community that surrounds us.
She said it best in her last email to her friends, "...being diagnosed with cancer has been a very bitter experience. In some ways, it took everything away from me, my health, my vocation, even my voice. But it has also sprouted the seeds of unspeakable sweetness. I feel the sweetness literally in the place I sit...the air smells like melting sugar, the refreshing breeze, the depth of the locals' smiles. But truly I tasted this rare sweetness first in the love that radiates from all of you. Such concern and generosity have moved me and changed me, and this is priceless."
Claire and I coincidentally and unknowingly bought each other cards in her final weeks, to exchange before she left the country. I never found the time nor the right words to write in mine to her. It was too heavy. In our last private moment together she produced this card and said, "I got you this and didn't write in it, but I wanted to give it to you anyway." It turns out; we had bought each other the same card, probably from the same store. We didn't need no stinkin' words to say the things we needed to say.
Cheers my dear friends. Go. Change. Love. Repeat.