Last week I got one of those emails that make your heart sink. I opened it and learned that my friend Heidi, a young 70-ish, had suffered a massive stroke. Within hours, I was planning to say goodbye.

I went to the hospital on Tuesday, and experienced the shock of seeing her unconscious body. Was the spirit still there? Where was it? The next day we held a puja for her, chanting the Saraswati mantra 108 times. I de-petaled flowers until midnight in preparation for the puja, thinking of the times Heidi and I had done flower prep for our spiritual teacher, thinking of her meticulous artistic sense. I tried to make a garland, Indian-style, sweating over the carnations as I attempted a 360 effect which I imagined would be soft against Heidi’s chest. As I tried to weave it together, the whole thing fell apart. I decided to let it go and stick with the petals.

It was a beautiful, meditative week, filled with the persistent reminder of the sacred, of something bigger. In the honoring of my friend, in the ritual of saying goodbye from the heart, Iremembered how wonderful it feels to be connected to the mystery of life, whether you call it God/Goddess, or Nature. I remembered how humbling it is to watch death proceed, because we really cannot understand it. But I also got lost in presence, and forgot POTS, disability, troubles and trials. I remembered something I had forgotten. Thank you Heidi, thank you for bringing me back.