HER NAME WAS LOLA
I am slowly moving into yet another goodbye.
I have experienced goodbye enough times to be very clear that they are not about absence.
They are about presence.
I have also said goodbye enough times to know that love is never past tense. My father transitioned in 1982 and I love him more today than I did then and more than I did last year. I am quite certain that for as long as I am on this planet the love will continue to grow, deepen, and mature.
The same is true of Jean.
I am calling her Jean in this writing because that indeed was her given name. I am calling her Jean so that anyone who knew her will recognize the inspiration for this homage. I likely have not referred to her as Jean in years.
To me she was Lola.
It was a self-ascribed moniker that she shared with me decades ago. It stuck. I very often sang the opening lines of the Barry Manilow song “Copacabana” when calling her. We would giggle and laugh and share the secret place that only good friends can know and share.
And that laugh.
Lola was brilliantly wise, knowledgeable, and extraordinarily articulate. She had a deep and abiding spirituality that permeated her being, living, and giving. She could put the wordless into words as well as anyone I have known. Though ninety at the time of her passing this internal Light never really dimmed. Even a stroke in the past year didn’t rob her of this God-force inside. She still wrote poems and delivered wisdom pearls almost until the end.
And that laugh. That incredible laugh.
Lola had a naughty side that was integral to why we got along so well.
As sharp as Jean always was there was often a momentary pause between stimulus and response when something struck her funny. This could be particularly evident if the source of humor was of a shadow nature. There would be a pause and then an internal rumbling that began way down deep and erupted in a sound that completely defies description. Though indefinable I can hear it as clear as if it were happening here as I type these words.
Perhaps it is.
And so even as I begin a process of goodbye she is still right here. I have no doubt that she will always be right here. I will always hear that laugh and feel that wonder.
I do not deny or diminish the impact of a physical death. “Here in spirit” is not the same as here in flesh. I will greatly miss the unique and wondrous physicality of Jean. I will miss the ornery little shimmy she shared when she called herself Lola. I will miss the brilliance and the boldness, the blind-spots and the mischief. The extraordinary artistry of her words, and the way she could nod off in meditation.
I will miss my Lola though at a real, intimate, virtual level she will always be with me.
The weepiness and the laughter. The wordiness and the wonder. The sacredness and the shimmy. The prayerfulness and the play.
She was so many things in this lifetime. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, confidant, companion, student, teacher.
So many things. And yet most of all she was love.
She long ago shared with me that her favorite song was If We Only Have Love. How appropriate.
Called by many roles, known to countless as simply Jean. Married to who she adoringly called Mr. Nice Guy for nearly seventy years.
To me she was and will always be dear friend. Valued companion on the spiritual path. Fellow pilgrim. Love incarnate. You may call her Jean. For me, her name was Lola.
Fly high and shimmy free, my Lola. And thanks for the dance.