Beth has died.
This shouldn't be a surprise — she has lived with autonomic failure for years. When we first became friends, we did so knowing that she was going to die. At the time, she estimated another year, maybe two. That’s six years ago. Somehow, I had begun to think that Beth was perennial.
Beth was strong, fierce, and the smartest person I've ever met. She was our white knight, living to fight injustice, to bring love to as many people as possible and to challenge the system that deals with the sick and disabled. She lived more than anyone I've ever known, did more, fought harder. Linda, her wife of 20 years, says is much better than I could ever do. My heart is with her and their good friend Cheryl.
She challenged so much and so many. On a personal level, Beth challenged me to think harder, feel more deeply. Beth had expectations and it was a joy to try to rise to them. She will have ripples. Those of us who were privileged to share part of her life were changed by the experience and for the better. We will accept less crap from the system that is mandated to help us, we will push ourselves to our limits and beyond to achieve because she told us we can and we will fly, because of her.
I haven’t been as much a part of her life as I’d like lately – my fault entirely. Still, Beth has been part of my every day in the way I think and try harder. Reminders are around me in the Ghibli card she sent me from Japan where we said we’d meet for tea after we died. They are in the bandaged zombie cat sitting on my hallway dresser.
Richard Bach said "don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends."
Beth and I will meet again, whether it is in the garden on the Ghibli card, in the afterlife of picnics surrounded by cats and cherry blossoms, talking for eternity without worrying about hurting or turning funny colours. Of there's such a thing as reincarnation, we’ll meet in our next life and then we won't be at different ends of the country.
Beth flew. Her light remains.