Funeral For A Friend.
January 29, 2012

The Red Thread of Destiny is a belief that comes from an old Chinese legend. Also known as the red thread of fate or red string of fate, it means that people who are destined to meet are tied together with an invisible red thread.

Chinese Proverb:

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.

The 27th of January was off from the start. In the morning, I spilled a steaming mug of coffee all over the table, rescuing my laptop literally seconds from disaster. In the afternoon, a glass of water slipped from my hands to shatter all over the tile floor.

There aren’t many things I hate more than cleaning up broken glass. Especially wet glass. Just awful.

In the rural desert, it’s dark outside, so I keep a special night-light in the bathroom so we can see our way. It’s one of my favorite possessions, molded from cream-colored porcelain with a relief sculpting of angels — it’s like a work of art made from light. If you look closely, you can see joyous angels gathered around a baby’s bassinet.

That night, it just stopped working. I jiggled it, screwed in a new bulb, finally resorted to begging, to no avail.

It was one of those days. I even tweeted about it.

Emily Murdoch
LeftyWriteyEmily Murdoch

Ugh, one of those days. Spilling-dropping-breaking things.
It also happens to be the day news broke that a friend died. A horrible day befitting horrible news, even if I didn’t know it, yet. Or, maybe on some deep, red string level, I did. Maybe deep down in my heart, I felt the red string snap.
Do you have old friends you haven’t spoken to in awhile? Give them a tweet, an email, a comment, a ring. There are so many ways to communicate.
About twenty minutes before I received the news, I’d sent her an email. The first email in a long, long time. I’m sure she received it. Just not in the way I’d hoped.
I’d written it in response to this poem she’d sent me.
She knew it, too.

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle,
When 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.
A professor stood before his philosophy class
And had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly,
He picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar
And proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students, if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured
Them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open Areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor, as the laughter subsided,
‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things – family,
Children, health, Friends, and Favourite passions
Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, Your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else –The small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ He continued,
‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.
The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff,
You will never have room for the things that are important to you.


Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play With your children.
Take time to pamper yourself.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house and wash the windows.

‘Take care of the golf balls first —
The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled.
‘I’m glad you asked’.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem,
there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’

 The red sections above were by her hand.

Tierney was a very private person, so I’m not sure she’d want her full name broadcasted here. So, I’m using just her first. A stand-out name for a stand-out person. (Yes, I mean *you*, Tierney.)

Tierney was so many things. Like all of us, she had her struggles, her demons to wrestle. They made her no less worthy, memorable or dear.

I wish I were using this time to reply to the email she would’ve sailed back immediately, knowing her.

Instead, I’m writing this in her memory. It’ll be printed out and thumbtacked to the Tribute Board at her funeral next weekend.

It’s life o’ clock. Do you know where your friends are?

“We are each of us angels with one wing.

Only by embracing each other can we fly.”

This morning, out of nowhere, the night-light winked back on.

I smiled.

I wonder if those changes
Have left a scar on you
Like all the burning hoops of fire
That you and I passed through

You’re a bluebird on a telegraph line
I hope you’re happy now
Well if the wind of change comes down your way girl
You’ll make it back somehow.

Funeral For a Friend