|Amanda with the Love Rug knitted for her, square by square.|
Used with permission.
Today I went to a funeral. The funeral was for Amanda Rynne about whom I've written before. Only two years ago, I wrote about the contribution I'd made to a "love rug" for her following the news that she had breast cancer.
Today we said goodbye.
I didn't know Amanda that well, but am very close with people who were very close to her. I went to her funeral to mark the fact she and I were connected and show myself as part of the community of people touched by her. I also went to support my friends who were also close to her. A very large church was filled with people dressed in red at Amanda's request. There was laughter and there were many tears as stories were told and life and death contemplated.
Melbourne turned on wild and unpredictable weather. Throughout the service, the wind sounded like a woman humming. I imagined that it was Amanda singing as we heard about Amanda's love of music. This contemplation was interrupted by the sound of a baby gurgling or crying. I thought about the bookends of life; beginnings and endings; innocence and pain.
The blanket we made for Amanda rested on her coffin today. My first glimpse of it caused the first tears of many to flow. I walked out with a handbag filled with soggy tissues.
Forty-one is young to have life taken away. I reflected on my own life and wondered whether I'm living it in the best way, fulfilling it in every aspect. It's good to think about these things.
I drove another friend back to her home afterwards and we shared a cup of tea together. Her extroverted four year old daughter came out and introduced herself. She gave me a hug and asked where we had been. I told her that we had been saying goodbye to a friend. Of course she asked why we were saying goodbye. I told her that our friend wasn't coming back anymore. She thought about this and nodded and then told me she really liked my shoes! It was lovely to be surrounded by the life pulsing through this little girl.
And so life goes on.
The news on the radio in the car as I drove to work carried a story about new drugs available for the treatment of breast cancer. I hope they work. Too many lives are affected by this disease.
One thing that has stuck in my mind from the homily was that there are only three things you need to be able to say to the people in your life: I love you. I'm sorry. I forgive you.
Amanda, I'll miss seeing your gorgeous photographs on Instagram. It was nice to know you Amanda, even a little bit. It was clear from today's turn out that you touched many people. A life well lived.