March 5, 2012
One of my best friends, Donna Lee Caramello, died on Monday, February 20 at 11:30 pm following a brave and noble journey through cancer. Donna is the first friend I’ve lost. She loved to cook “for the masses,” and created connections masterfully. Solstice gatherings, parties, dinners, creative travel, clients, healers and on and on… she drew crowds to her like the sun lifts flowers to itself.
It’s because of Donna that I met my best friend Liz, my other best friend, Elaine, a guru from India, the co-author of my book Edemir Rossi, and numerous other friends, acquaintances and experiences. Holly, Janice, Joanne, Donna H., Suzan, Beth, Ravi, Roxanne, Kathleen, Shelley and many more.
Donna and I shared a trip to India, three retreats with Amma, sacred conversations, weekly webcasts with Shri Guru Dadaji, healing groups, deep sharing, sound healing concerts, infinite dinners together, life’s philosophies and on and on.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Poem attributed to Mary Frye
A few days following Donna’s passing, I took to the woods. It’s February. The last time I was in the woods was fall…full of color and freshness. Today all was evenly lit with overcast light. Brown leaves, brown branches, brown earth. Tree limbs were fallen everywhere, some from last year’s hurricane. I looked around for “signs” of Donna’s presence. Feeling as if she was around me all the time, I hoped perhaps I would come across some twigs in shape of her initials, some clouds forming hearts. Something to offer proof she is really still with me.
Donna was my teacher in so many ways. Always in a place of unconditional love, she taught me about love…not with words, but from her consistent open heart. Her deep acceptance of every being that crossed her path helped others with their own self- love. In that acceptance, I witnessed myself and others open more, widening their friendships with others in Donna’s circles.
Her funeral was a lovely service, with a moving eulogy from her brother David. Friends clutched one another as we watched her casket leave the church, David’s words ringing in our hearts: “As Donna would say; Live, Love, Laugh… Bye for now!”
Knowing Donna, she sped into the Light that Monday evening of her last breath. Perhaps she flew toward the angels to polish their halos, prune their wings and bring their level of divine service up a notch.
Grief comes in waves. As soon as it’s too much, our psyche ebbs toward relief. I’m amazed at the human capacity to take on this quantum amount of raw grief. There were moments I thought the sorrow of the whole world was moving through me, as I stood standing in my bedroom, bent over, wailing at full lung capacity. Thank you to my friends and healers who held me up when I couldn’t stand alone… Liz, Debbie, Kelley, Helene, Heather, Susan, Judy B.
Usually my blogs have a less personal message. Thank YOU for creating a space for me to speak from my heart in this way. And I also realize that this very personal message is not so personal, but universal. In the midst of my deepest moments of sorrow I prayed for all those who have lost a loved one. We go through these depths alone, yet we are not alone. Grief is universal. And always, I believe, bittersweet. It’s because a heart can love that much that it can hurt that much. Bless the tenderness of an open heart. Thanks to God, Donna, Donna’s friends and family. May Donna and all beings be at peace.
Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one. Would you like to take a moment and pay tribute? You are welcome to leave a response here on Judy’s Blog.