This morning my mother informed me that her close friend, who has been battling Cancer for the last six months, had died in the early hours of the morning. Her husband and two daughters were with her when she exited this world, and was finally free of the intense pain she had been in for the last month.
My mum and I have had many conversations about her friend, and what her wishes are if she finds herself in a similar situation. I'm thankful that my mother's friends illness provided the opportunity for us to be able to have such conversations, and I now know exactly what my mother wants.
I stood and listened as my mum spoke about her friend, the memories she has of her, the experiences they had shared, and how she was feeling. I was glad that I was able to be there beside her as she processed her friend's passing.
I went to tell Laura, but before I was able to she exclaimed that J was dead. J is a young man of 19, who Laura, Nathan and I have known since he was 12, meeting him not longer after we moved into the Noosa Hinterland. Nathan is very good friends with J's younger brother, having played soccer with him since they were six, and spent many days and nights at their house. Laura went to school with J, socialised with him as he was part of her circle of friends when she lived on the Coast. I have had many conversations with his mother about the perils, and pleasures, of raising teens.
There was also another young man involved - C, someone else we all know, and have known for several years. He is in a stable condition, but requires surgery, skin grafts and God knows what else. Both young men, larger then life, with enormous hearts.
My head is reeling with a cacophony of emotions. Shock. Confusion. Struggling to make sense of the degrees of death... One death arrived slowly, painfully, over six months, claiming a woman in the winter of her life. The other so quickly, so unexpectedly, taking someone in the midst of their spring...
I watch and listen to my own children process similar feelings, different yet the same, felt through their own limited lenses of the world. I reach to comfort my daughter. She pushes me away. "Don't" ... I worry for my son. The need to see him right now is intense.
I can only begin to imagine what J and C's parents are feeling right now. Thinking about it makes my breath catch in my throat, my heart clench tight.
The gossamer fine thread that is life ... so strong, yet so fragile at the same time. How can that be?