It is 01.29am here in Sydney as I start this post. In just one minute the service in Marija's name commences at St Jerome Croatian Catholic Church, in Chicago. By the time the post is finished, so will the service be..
The house is asleep but I have stayed awake specially to honour Marija's memory and to send loving thoughts to her family and friends. I have no doubt the church will be full of love and beautiful memories, that the service will be worthy, serene and peaceful. There will be tears no doubt, lots of tears falling because we have lost a beautiful person who touched so many people in the world.
My children were home when I read Cory's remarkable and sad tribute to his wife, and they rushed to my side when they heard me get so upset. Oscar, my sweet and wise 7 year old, said 'Mamma, when people die they don't disappear. Marija will be by your side for ever because she is your friend!'. And tonight when I tucked him in and sat on his bedside he looked all cheeky and said 'Mamma, I hope Marija isn't sitting on top of me now because you are sitting on the edge of my bed and there is no room for her there!'. It made me smile and think that children have the best way of viewing life!
Oscar is so right. Of course Marija is still with us. She has merely transformed into a boundless spirit that will for ever stay close to those she loved. Her warm, witty, caring and insightful personality has left a strong impression that for me will remain in my heart always. To have been Marija's friend makes me feel proud and honoured, and I will be forever grateful for the time we had.
More than anything right now, I picture Marija with her father Joseph. A man whom she spoke so tenderly & beautifully about, and whom she loved and missed very much! I picture her now with his arm around her shoulders watching over her beloved family and friends, making sure everyone is and will be ok. Reassuring us that all will be well and that life must continue despite our sadness & pain.
Though the week has passed in numbing shock and sadness, it has also been a time that has strengthened the wonderful friendships that have been built here in the 'blog world'. Countless tributes to our beautiful Marija have united us in our grief. Emails with love and support have been exchanged between us, her friends who are scattered all over the world, and I for one have once again come to realise just how much you guys mean to me and how important you all are! So for that I want this post to be not only a final tribute to our dear friend Marija, but also celebration of the friendships that have sprung in this virtual world that is both tangible and very real.
To be honest I have had no inspiration or energy to blog this week, and this post is not easy for me to write. I have had to stop and breathe deeply a few times, but am determined to push through and keep on writing. I owe it to Marija to embrace the good she brought to my life and to continue blogging & building the friendships that make it so worthwhile. So this here is my first very small step into a future that now feels new and fragile, but at the same time also full of powerful realisations and gratefulness. I count my blessings and know I how very fortunate I am to have so much and so many in my life!
Tomorrow marks the day I will draw a name out of a hat to reveal the winner of my 'High Tea book give-away' and it feels good to know that such a small gesture will make someone happy. That reading my blog makes someone happy. All of that means the world to me, and as I say in my introduction at the top left of this blog: "I live my life with the aim to generate and pass on as much positive energy as I possibly can". I do it for me, for you, for my family and for our dear Marija. May she rest in peace..
Biggest hugs and love to you all.