The strange pale of death

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She slipped away from us yesterday, and today, our Facebooks are awash with heartbroken words and virtual tears which I know are much fewer than the real ones. Does death get harder as you get older? I recall a close death when I was 16, I don’t know if it was this sad. It probably was, perhaps time has healed that wound. I, like everybody else, knew this was coming. None of us knew the day or the hour, but we’ve had plenty of time to prepare as they say. Over the past few weeks I’ve had my tears and had thought that I was ready for it to come as an almost welcome final release from her weakened, pained body. But no, I was not ready, it was shocking in the end and it hit very hard. She wasn’t my mother or my best friend, but a person who has meant a great deal to me since I was about 11 years old. It shocked me because I was at her side in what turned out to be the final hour of her life. Not half an hour after I left her, my dear friend called me with the very sad news. As much as I expected it, I didn’t expect that. I had stepped too close to death’s door and I was broken hearted.

It wasn’t in any way quick for those who sat at her bedside of course. Or those who walked alongside her as she battled for some seven or so years to fight what she called this terrible disease. Her daughters, husband, best friends, all have sat through chemos, surgeries, lung drains and I don’t know what else over the years. Their battle ended yesterday too. Now they have to find a way to live on without her. She was a bright, colourful thread in my life, for them, she was the whole tapestry. There are a lot of death cliches out there, she would want us to move on/live/be happy, is a common one. Well, yes, but first we have to wade through this sticky mire of sadness. Having been the lucky recipient of her wise advice on many occasions, I think she’d want us to mourn full and well, cry, hell wail if we need to. Be sad, feel every painful part of it. And her lovely family will. But interspersed in that wailing will be gut splitting laughter, as is their style, always has been, always will be. Jokes and tears sat side by side at her bedside yesterday as has been the case all her life. That’s one of the many gifts she and her family have given the world. A whole lot of laughing. God bless them and God bless you Lynn.

On Monday we will celebrate her life. I remember when I went shopping for my wedding dress, she came along as substitute Mum because mine was overseas. I was torn between a more traditional style and a beautiful, cool and a bit shocking red one. I called my Mum (it was about 2am for her) to see what she thought. I asked Lynn, thinking that the advice I’d get from both would be to go conservative. Ha! Should have known better. Mum said to go with what I really loved. Lynn said, well, you know me Tracey, I love colour. I do wish I’d gone with the red one sometimes. So on Monday, I’m wearing my brightest, most colourful, REDDEST dress. I’m going to find a bright, colourful flower to pin over my heart. Because she loves colour.

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