Today, as I was on the verge of tears, I remembered Maureen when I saw a shower of pink petals falling from my neighbor's crab apple tree. A wonderful aroma permeated the air and a light wind blew the flowers into a shaft of sunlight before they fell to the newly green grass creating a soft carpet of pale rose. I thought, Maureen would love this moment.
We became friends over 20 years ago. She stepped into my life just after a bridesmaid in my wedding decided to break-off our friendship. To this day, I don't know why the first friendship came to an end, but thank God it did, because a friendship that would define my life was about to begin.
I marvel that in spite of knowing all my faults and 'sins', Maureen continued our friendship and wanted my company. This will always be a miracle to me.
Maureen and I raised our children together, lived on the same block, took weekly walks with our dogs and were a four-some on dates with our husbands. Still, there is no way to capture all the living that went on in our 20+ years together and my love for this remarkable woman.
Instead, I'd like to share one of our favorite poems. It beautifully echoes Maureen's unerring belief that profound beauty and joy co-exist alongside bitter pain and disappointment. It is up to us where we choose to focus.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.