“It matters not how long you live, but how well.” Publilius Syrus
I had another post on letting go all ready to publish, then a friend died. Not a close friend. But a sister to some pretty good friends. The other post just seems trivial now. So, I dedicate this post to the beautiful Soul born to Earth as Courtney Hagen and her shining example of life well lived.
A couple of months ago I was talking to her sister about how I struggle with knowing what to pray for when people are sick. Although I believe the power of prayer and positive intention is very real and can make any miracle possible, I also believe there is a grander vision to life that we are sometimes unable to understand, such as with Courtney’s illness. This is not a space where I want to open up a debate about fate versus free will. That is an endless debate with as many answers as there are people on the planet. I don’t know the answers. In the end we both agreed that we can pray for their healing and for the person to have peace. Inward peace with whatever the outcome may be. I don’t know if that’s the correct answer, but it feels right.
I will never forget the last time I saw Courtney. It was in passing at a Fourth of July party this year, before I knew she was sick. Maybe before she knew she had cancer, again. I was coming. She was going. We talked briefly about our children. I having one toddler. She having four children ages sixteen and under. We both agreed how time goes so fast and I remember her saying how much she loved talking to her teenage girls. Now how many mothers can say they love talking to teenage girls? I thought, how blessed those girls are to have such a loving, patient mother who actually wants to hear what they have to say. I hope they know how awesome she was. My guess is, they do.
On the night she passed, it’s weird, but no coincidence, that she was on my mind so much. I had no idea she was approaching the end. My son was having a tough time that night falling and staying asleep. Just as I was at the height of my tired frustration, I thought, “Courtney would love to have just one more night with her babies. Get a grip, Veronica.” Selfishly I guess, that put it in perspective. I then prayed for her to be pain-free and at peace. Later that day I learned she passed at 1:30am that morning, just about the same time of the prayer.
Death reminds us of the brevity, fragility, and mystery of life. How we are guaranteed nothing. In conjunction with the sadness, because it’s ok to be sad for as long as we need, let’s have it wake us up too and empower us to live with the end always in mind. To daily remind us of the kind of people we want to be, the kind of impression we want to leave on the Earth. To ask, all the time, what does matter? Trying our best to let go of whatever doesn’t come to mind. Courtney lived a life that mattered. She was kind, loving, fun, joyful and generous. Losing her is a loss for us all. And although we will only drive ourselves mad asking the question why her, why such a good person? Why not that movie theatre shooter instead? It’s hard not to wonder. My heart aches for her and at the same time I’m letting her life and untimely death inspire me to live deeper, lighter, and more connected to what matters.
Creator, thank you for shining through Courtney. Please give her Soul and her family peace.