Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is check my plants. I meticulously check their fruits (if any), their leaves, their height, the dryness of the soil. I check for new growth, or if existing flowers have reached their full bloom. Then I sit for a while with them, bask in joy and gratitude, commune with the small patch of greenery, my own small slice of nature.
Today it is the wildflower that catches my eye. It is bright pink and has tiny yellow flowers within it. It is bold and stunning, it stands strong and confident like a goddess. And when you look closer, when you see the details of its beauty, you are drawn to it forever. And suddenly, I am in tears. This wildflower, this beautiful, bright wonder of nature, reminds me of my dearest friend, Gypsy, who left this world too soon.
"Thank you and I love you." Those were the last words she texted me on 17th June of this awful year. I am laden with strange aches. I wipe my tears and think of her mother and her daughters, Bella and Luma. I think of her husband, Gregory, who is also a dear friend of mine. I curse and get angry without knowing to whom I should address my anger. Then my heart aches some more, and I do not know how a heart can hold so much sadness. These two, Gypsy and Gregory, got engaged on my birthday. They left me a giddy voicemail to tell me about their engagement. These two are mad people – madly in love, mad to love, mad to give, mad to play music, mad to live life to the fullest. They are bonkers, they are utterly and wonderfully magical. I say are instead of were because that is how I see them then and now, because I have not fathomed completely that she is gone, that Gregory is now alone in their home sitting in the lonely universe of grief. I do not have to sit next to him to hear his heart breaking. Their union was blessed by the universe, years in the making, but when the moment was right, it happened effortlessly as things do when they are meant to fall into place. And if you stopped believing in love, these two will make you believe in it again.
I must tell you about Gypsy. Her resilience shone through her beautiful bright eyes and brightened my grim soul. I had shown up at her door sad, maudlin, philosophical, disagreeable, and always, she greeted me with kindness and indulged me with plenty of wine and conversations. There were many nights when we stayed up past midnight worried about the state of the world as though the world was our child and we had to come up with brilliant ideas to save it. Her home was home to the wayward and creatives, the lost and confused, practically anyone who needed a space to breathe or a place to stay. Through her warmth and generosity of spirit, I had met other kind and creative souls. Through her lovely dinners, I had shared food with people of different faiths from different countries where we shared bread and pasta and asked for a second serving and drank wine. We talked about religion and culture and recipes and Plato and King Solomon. We disagreed and agreed and ate cake and drank more wine and laughed and talked all night long. No one was offensive or rude. No one got hurt. You would think it is possible for people to come to a place bringing their baggage, unique history, present circumstances and get along well. You would think it is possible to live in harmony. You would think it is possible to treat each other decently despite all the differences. It certainly was possible in her home. It was possible, because Gypsy, who had one of the biggest hearts in the world, enabled our hearts to be open too. Kindness begets kindness and it went around again and again in her household that she could not fathom any other way of living.
I plant a seed for her. I touch the soil and let it sit on my hands for a while and I feel a sacred connection to earth. In my hands is the earth's surface made up of minerals, organisms, water, and air, fused together, formed over time. They say it takes hundreds to thousands of years to create an inch of topsoil. In my hands is evidence of the universe's wonder. In my hands I am holding history, magic, brilliance, nature, life all at once. We live in a universe of constant flux and change and we are all mere specks of dust and color and particles molded into a shape for a brief moment before we are being weaved again into another form of existence, gracing the world in a different light and with a different purpose (And when I look at life in this perspective, it makes her absence more natural and less painful). I put the soil in the pot and plant the seed and say a prayer. She will always be in my garden.
Darling, beautiful Gypsy, I don’t know how not to miss you. We can’t have you back in the form that we are accustomed to but we have these: the light you shone is a light we shall pass on to others, the fearless life you lived is one that we shall aspire to, the love you gave is a beacon in our dark moments. Thank you for these gifts. Good night, my silly, sweet, loving Gypsy. You are now an angel. You are now a star in the sky.