“I will see you again, but not yet. Not yet.” –Gladiator

Today, I found out that a precious friend of mine died. We each walk our own path of spirituality, and for me, I do believe her spirit lives and that does provide comfort. But that’s not helping me right now in this earth plain. I do believe I will see her again–but not now, not here, and not yet! Right now, in this moment, my heart is breaking with pain. I’m feeling raw.

She was a beautiful person inside and out and she died too young. She had cancer and wow did she give it a valiant effort! When she would describe some of the things she was going through, I honestly didn’t know how she could bear it. She was almost 40+ years clean and sober! She was small in stature, but absolutely one of the mightiest people I ever knew. She was brave. She was kind, yet I wouldn’t have wanted to stand in her way of anything. She was also my son, Micah‘s, occupational therapist for his special needs horse therapy. That’s how I was privileged enough to meet her. She had so much expertise, but bigger than that was the love that she had for all those she helped and for the beautiful horses.

Even after Micah passed, she was there for me. One of the volunteers that worked alongside her with Micah died not long after him. Then one of the horses he rode died. She and I grieved these things together. She was there with all her bold love and experience when one of my kids went into treatment supporting us both emotionally and practically with loving plans, healthy boundaries, and always “one day at a time”. She never let up. She was always there when needed. Her light shone so bright! There’s not enough space to talk about what she’s done while on this earth!

I think to myself, “Why did she have to go now-too young?!” She gave so much, and she wanted to keep on living and giving!

No one looks forward to any kind of loss and its associated grief. The experiences that I have had with grief have taught me so much though. My therapist would tell me that we all need to learn how to grieve well, because life is full of grief. She also would remind me that when we grieve, we also grieve other things we may not have grieved. I am aware that I’m also experiencing that today too. I don’t find it coincidental that her early death and some of the things I’m feeling like “survivor’s guilt” tied right in with feelings I was having in the last few days. Of course, it wasn’t the exact same thing, but related to things in me I needed to deal with.

See, she’s still helping me! I believe she still will. The love we shared, will NOT die. I honor the amazing soul she was and the beautiful life she lived. She made me a better person having experienced her in multiple ways. I will carry her with me in my heart where a part of her will always reside. She was truly extraordinary!

Please share a moment with me. Let’s honor those who’ve gone on before us. We miss their physical presence and all that meant. Acknowledge that. Think of a loved one (or several) that you will see again— “but not yet. Not yet.” Light a candle, and cry with me as we sing:

“Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking, but I stay strong, and I’ll hold on, cause I know — I will see you again, oh this is not where it ends. I will carry you with me -’til I see you again.”

———In memoriam of Katherine———

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.