It’s a tradition we started the year my dear friend Anita transitioned. Still grieving deeply that first year, those of us who I suppose were closest to her and who may have been suffering the most from her loss decided we needed to celebrate her on her birthday. And so, we came together, Elaine, Becky, Tonia, Beverly and me. We met for lunch at Macaroni Grill, the place she and I had planned to meet for lunch the week she died.
That first year, the tears were so very close to the surface that many of them were shed that day. The grief was still raw and all we could talk about was why. Why did she have to die so young? Why did it have to happen so suddenly? Why Anita? Why did we have to lose her at all? Why could more not have been done to save her? Why? Why? WHY!?
The second year was a little easier. We found ourselves able to recall some of the happier memories. And the whys had, by and large, been put behind us. We realized there were no easy answers to them and continuing to ask why was akin to poking a sore tooth. Nothing would change. The grief would still be there. The regrets over losing her far too soon would not go away and asking why with no answers could not put them to rest. Instead, we found ourselves focusing on reconnecting with each other, Anita our most common bond. She was still very much a presence at that table, though. We again ordered a glass of wine for her and passed it around the table, each of us toasting her in our own way. We had begun to accept her absence. We had begun to heal.
By this year, the third, meeting for lunch to celebrate Anita’s birthday had become a tradition. We still meet at the same Macaroni Grill. We still share one glass of Pinot Grigio and each toast our beloved friend. And this year, we shared even happier memories, but we also found ourselves talking of the destiny that was hers, the indelible mark she left on this world. We agreed that she had chosen to come into this life to follow a path she determined before coming. And we agreed she left when she was ready, when she knew her role here was complete. In this life, she always seemed to be seeking something, to grow spiritually. And she did. Always. Somehow, she always found herself in the role of supporting others in their growth too. I think that unconditional support she offered the rest of the world was her way of fulfilling her own soul’s purpose in being here, her chosen destiny if you will. We were all better for having known her and when she left, it was because she had fulfilled that destiny and was ready for her next thrilling adventure of the soul.
Surprisingly, since she passed, two of us have experienced strangely similar readings with mediums. In those readings, Anita was clearly present. She is, we were told, happy on that new plane and very, very busy. And what is she doing? She is helping newly transitioned souls find their way in their new existence, helping ease the all too natural confusion over leaving one world and entering another. How perfect that is for her! I believe she was preparing for that role over all the years I knew and loved her. Some would say that makes her an angel. Perhaps they are right.