Today is Maurya’s birthday. This once vibrant woman is now a place in my heart. I no longer think about calling her on special days but it is the rare day that I don’t think of her at all.
And when the reality of her death washes over me yet again, the pain opens my heart to loss, which overflows into love, finally pooling into gratitude. The love is forever, the gratitude for over 50 years of friendship immense, enough for the years I live without her.
Or so I tell myself every moment I reach for our friendship. It is as solid as stardust, and it’s everywhere—the shimmer of a leaf, sunlight on pond waters, moonlight waxing or waning.
Never cast aside your friends if by any possibility you can retain them.
We are the weakest of spendthrifts if we let one friend drop off
through inattention, or let one push away another,
or if we hold aloof from one for petty jealousy,
or heedless slights or roughness….
(Mother’s Magazine, 19th century)
And while I never knew about Mother’s Magazine before Maurya’s death, it is to those words I turn. At some point, they were important enough that she wrote them down.
It was how Maurya lived. She accepted that often our shortcomings and our strengths are one and the same. She did not suffer fools nor was she unkind. She understood people have only their kind of love to give.
It is easy to lose a friend but a new one will not
come for the calling nor make up for the old one.
And when it is death that comes calling, the loss is no less.