It’s that time of year when the days can seem to drone on in an endless blur of grey and brown, chilly and damp. Maybe a blanket of powdery white waits for an opportune moment to drape itself over the landscape one last time. Or perhaps the sky might break into a brilliant blue, and the warmth of the sun will set to stirring signs of life and renewal.
This is the In-between, a time between times. We have nearly completed our long journey though winter, but have not yet experienced the joyous beauty of Spring.
I have been thinking a lot about my friend, Karen, who passed away last week. Karen had been in hospice for several weeks, and she faced her transition to the other side with incredible grace and wisdom.
It seemed clear to me that Karen wanted to live, and I think there was part of her that still wanted to believe that could happen. And yet, at the same time, she seemed at peace knowing that her time to leave was drawing near, and she did not fear death.
Talking to Karen was always very easy. Throughout the 17 or 18 years that I knew her, we both had many ups and downs, and I was always impressed and inspired by the amount of insight she had as we continued rolling and bumping along through life’s journey.
During my last visits and communications with her, we talked very openly about her death. It was so natural, and as always during our friendship, I was so appreciative of her authenticity.
One of the things we spoke about was reincarnation. Karen was a very spiritual person, and we shared similar views on this topic. Of course, the basic premise of reincarnation is that, after we die, our souls are born again into another being. But she wondered what happened after death but before your soul entered another body. What was in the In-between? We speculated about a place of love and light, perhaps where souls gather and reconnect. Then Karen said that she was going to try to get in touch once she reached the other side, to give us some insight into what it was like. She followed this by saying, “But I’ll try not to do it in a spooky way, like when it’s dark out.” I laughed a deep laugh, full of love and appreciation.
That was so Karen. She was always trying to help others and make them comfortable. Even if it was from the other side.
In the wake of Karen’s passing, I find myself facing my own In-between. Along with the In-between of the seasons, I am moving forward to the In-between of jobs. And, of course, I continue to struggle though the In-between of my own illness and health.
Uncertainty is not comfortable. But when I think about Karen moving forward in her journey wth serenity and courage, it inspires me and makes things feel a little more okay. And it helps to know that soon, our time between times will become Spring once more, and life again will be tender and new.
I will miss Karen deeply, but I am so grateful for the remarkable light she shone on the world. Her special kindness, wisdom, and caring was a gift she gave to all who knew her. I wish her much love and happiness as she continues on in her journey, though the beautiful In-between of love and light, and beyond.
Dear friends at my 24th birthday party in 2001. Karen is seated to the left looking peaceful and lovely as ever.
The amazing women in my life. We are apparently so in sync that we even color coordinate by accident! (Karen is to the left)
My 40th birthday party this past year. I was so touched by my friends who came from near and far to be with me. Karen is seated 2nd to the left next to our dear friend, Michele.