Finality by Angela Caldin
I’ll always remember the Christmas of 2022 because, a few days before, a friend of mine died and I felt her loss deeply. She died unexpectedly away from home, so there was no opportunity to say goodbye or to tell her what a good friend she had been. Suddenly she was gone, leaving a vast hole in my life.
She had lived all her life in Auckland and took great pleasure in introducing us to lovely places. She took us to the Pah Homestead, an imposing old building now housing an art gallery and a cafe with a garden full of striking sculptures and a circular walk in the adjacent leafy park. She bought me a pretty reusable coffee cup in the quirky shop. Another time she took us to Eden Garden, a beautiful, peaceful, memorial garden on the slopes of Mount Eden, full of colour. The tuis were whistling and cackling in the high trees to the delight of my husband who stood underneath the branches transfixed by the weird sounds. Some time later she gave us a heart-shaped tile with a tui on it in memory of the visit.
When we moved into our new house, she gave us a chopping board with delicate roses and butterflies. It is so typical of her: stylish, elegant and altogether lovely. Out of the blue one day, she gave me a little cleaning cloth for my glasses which I think may have been designed by a friend of hers. It is packed with colours of all kinds, vibrant and swirling; it has her energy and flair.
There were other presents too and other visits to theatres and cinemas and restaurants, always carefully chosen and planned. I knew she was a good friend and I knew I was lucky to have her in my life, but it’s only now she’s gone that I realise how kind and generous she was and how much I’m going to miss her. It dawns on me that I need to treasure the friends that I’ve still got. I know it’s a truism, but once they’ve gone, it will be too late.