~ nan ~
How do you sit with a dear friend as she prepares to cross over into uncharted territory? You can only go with her so far, then the passage is blocked. She must take those final steps by herself. How hard it is to accept that, especially when you've shared life for years. She must go on alone while you stay behind.
I don't even know if I believe in an afterlife, but one thing I do know: once we have loved and been loved, we are bonded for life. As long as I live, my friend Nan will live. And that goes for all the lives she touched, lives that count in the millions. For Nan Merrill is the author of six books and founding editor of a newsletter called Friends of Silence that was sent to thousands every month for over 22 years. And now she lies in her bed in a hospice in Vermont, with her son Mark and her daughter-in-law Susan holding the phone to her ear as farflung friends like me tell her we love her.
I just reread the interview that is linked to "Friends of Silence" above, and called Nan back so I could read aloud to her the Prayer of Abandonment by Charles de Foucauld. It is her favorite prayer.
Beloved. I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me what you will.
Whatever You may do, I thank you.
I am ready for all. I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me, and all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, my friend.
Into your hands I abandon my soul.
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart.
For I love you and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve, with boundless confidence.
For you are the heart of my heart.
Go gently, dearest Nan, go gently...
And on Saturday, January 23, she did. After three weeks of standing at death's door, Nan gently pushed it open and became one with the Light. May she continue her work among us.