I just finished a midnight FaceTime with one of my best friends. Today was a tough day for her. Her mom has been battling aggressive cancer for 4 months now and passed this morning. It wasn’t unexpected and they’ve been preparing for it for a while now, but I don’t think that anyone can ever truly be ready for heartbreak like that regardless of seeing it coming from a distance or otherwise. My friend is the epitome of strength and endurance. She has been dealt a lot of shitty cards throughout her life, and like her mama, she has dealt with every single obstacle and unfortunate experience and traumatic situation with the grace I can only call “Ardy’s Essence.”
“Ardy’s Essence” is a rare mixture of optimism, pragmatism, realism and sass. It is the ability to find reasons for gratitude in a thankless and bleak situation. It is the ability to remain hopeful when everything seems doomed and irreparable. It is the ability to touch the lives of everyone around in a healing manner and provide wisdom and courage and love without judgement or an expectation of anything in return, when that healing is needed most internally by the giver. “Ardy’s Essence” is a feisty, fiery spunk that can never be dulled or diminished. It is living life with integrity and honour and loyalty. It is giving kindness where it hasn’t been earned, love where it isn’t deserved, and forgiveness when none is justified. It is the essence of everything good and just and beautiful in this world all bundled up into the tiny package of a human being. It is an essence I think this world could use so much more of. The absence of it in majority of the people on earth just adds to its value in the few who possess it.
As I was facetiming my friend, trying not to cry for her and her family, I was so humbled by her attitude. She told me her mama wouldn’t want me to be sad, and I explained that my tears were of empathy and a bit of a personal loss as well as the overwhelming feeling of gratitude that She and her loved ones were there to see Ardy off from this life into the next. The tears were for the fact that it was Ardy’s soul shining through her daughters eyes and actions, and for the fact that Ardy will never really be gone because she has created a being who embodies all of her finest qualities. She inherited “Ardy’s Essence”. I feel a fraction of the loss of Ardy because she had an impact on me the moment I met her. She was one of those peoole who you instantly feel at ease with. It could be eerie to experience her because she made you feel as though she was seeing right through to your soul. She was insightful and intuitive and highly spiritual. She did a couple tarot readings for me, and it was uncanny the predictions she made and the things she knew about me without having any possible way of prior knowledge. That was just who she was. Her smile was contagious, the same smile my beautiful friend wears to be exact. But just as quickly as she was to smile and laugh, she would call out bullshit. She had a strong moral compass that she remained in tune with until her last breath, and I’m sure she’ll continue to follow into her next chapter.
There is a fire burning for her for 4 days, in order to light her path into her next life. She was a strong advocate of her Micmac heritage, and she must have been so at ease as her loved ones honoured her in the traditional rituals today. She was bathed in cedar water for purification, although she was about as pure as you can get because she lived her life openly and honestly and faithfully. She was robed in a handmade linen and sent off with locks of hair from her loved ones. Native hair is extremely important to the culture and signifies much more than I know about, so out of respect for their heritage I won’t even begin to try to explain because I would make a mess of something so beautiful and so sacred to them. But my beautiful friend cut her hair for the first time in ages to send off with her mama, she was marked the matriarch of their family and she shouldered every responsibility with dignity and respect and class. She truly was “Ardy’s Essence” today.
Ardy has left a strong legacy behind through her loved ones, and I can only hope that they find strength from it on their weak days and find pleasure from it on their strong days. I hope that when they feel a shiver running down their backs, or a calming sense that they’re not alone, they know that it’s Ardy lending her light and love and courage to them when they need it. I know they will treasure every memory made, every lesson learned and every hilarious smart ass remark made by Ardy.
The fire leading Ardy into the next life won’t burn half as bright as her spirit, but I know that she’ll have no trouble using its light and creating a whole new legacy on her journey. She will always have her mark on this world, and no doubt leave some new ones wherever she winds up. Ardy’s Essence is timeless and ethereal and magnificent, and my beautiful friend is another wonderous example of a mothers love running deeper than anything the eye can see. Rest easily through your transition Ardy, and may you find peace and relief in the next life. You will be greatly missed, and every thought of you will bring the same peace your presence did in person.
Ps (Thank you to Ardy for creating such a stunning daughter who came into my life and brightened things up more than I could have dreamed. She’s beyond special and she’s got good peoples taking care of her now, which you know because you helped guide her to us or maybe guided us to her. Either way we know you’re still working your magic and we’ll keep doing you proud and making sure your daughter and granddaughter are well loved always ❤)