My Dearest Andy,
I just finished working a 6-day stint and have not had a proper moment to reflect and mourn the loss of your sweet Mel ... until now. I just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking about you both with great sadness over such a deep and senseless loss (Sod you, Cancer!) mixed with great joy that Mel is free from the pain at last.
I wanted to relay a little story of what happened at my work the day that Mel went to sleep for the last time. I am a cashier at a very busy grocery store. I smile at every customer and ask them how they are and when asked the same, I always reply "I'm great! Thanks for asking!" (or something similar) ... even if I'm not really great. Because there is no time to discuss worries or problems or anything that may be going on in my personal life. And most people would not care to know about all that, anyway. But the day that we lost Mel, I had gone outside for my ten-minute break to smoke a much needed cig and to check emails and facebook msgs on my phone. That's when I read your heartbreaking post about your beloved Wee Warrior.
I have always found it difficult to cry no matter how much pain I feel. (I think that comes from an abusive childhood ... another story for, perhaps, another time.) But learning of Mel's death brought immediate tears. For ten minutes, I sat alone under a tree behind the store and cried.
Then, all too soon, my "break" was over and I had to get back in to stand at the cash register and greet customers with a smile. I composed myself as best I could and went back to work. My first customer upon my return, was a curmudgeonly old man, a regular, who always has something to complain about. He has a permanent, angry scowl on his face ... we didn't have the graham crackers he wanted, or I didn't bag his groceries the way he wanted, or I took too long to ring him up, etc. etc. I was glad for him in that moment, because I didn't have to pretend to be happy!
But the customer after him was a woman whom I'd never seen before. With a smile and sincerity, I asked her how her day was going and she said she'd been having a wonderful day. She asked me how I was. Before I could say anything, she said, "You seem sad. Tell me, are you OK?" I was honestly quite taken aback.
There was something so kind and spiritual about her. So, trying not to cry, I told her that I had just gotten some very sad news.
She said, "please tell me."
I said that a very lovely, special friend had just died of cancer.
The woman said, "What's your friend's name?"
I said "Her name is Mel."
"Well then," she replied, "you need to go to your boss and tell her that you must leave today. You need to be with Mel's loved ones and others who understand your great loss. You need to do this for them and for you."
I explained to her that Mel and her husband, Andy, were in Scotland, so, going to be with you would not be possible.
She said, "I'm so sorry. Having them so far away must be especially hard for you."
I told her that I would be OK but that, yes, not being able to share physical space with Mel's husband and friends in Mel's beloved Scotland, was very painful indeed. I also said, "even though I've known Andy and Mel for several years and have felt
closer to them than I have most of my own family, I've only ever known them through Facebook and through Andy's blog and videos. I've never even been to Scotland or had the privilege to meet them in person and now, Mel is gone, so I will never have the chance to sit with her or hug her or hear her laugh... even if I do finally get to Scotland one day."
This woman told me that she completely understood how a long-distance connection can be so strong and true. She said, "it doesn't matter that you have never shared physical space with them. You have shared something much more than that. The spiritual connections we have with our soul friends are as strong and valid and pure as any we might have with the family and friends who are physically near to us."
She asked me to tell her about Mel and you. I told her that you are "Bimblers"; that you travel the Highlands of Scotland with your dog Cus, in your caravan that is decked out with solar panels. That you both are caring, funny, smart, creative people. That Mel knitted (or crocheted, I couldn't remember which) lovely hats and scarves and she loved winter time. That Mel was so strong and brave, having fought against that fucking cancer for years and that Andy had fought with her and beside her. That most importantly, the two of you never let cancer define who you are or how you've lived your lives. I told her that your life and love story had inspired people around the world and that you both are deeply loved by so many.
She thanked me for sharing you two with her. She said she would light candles for you and for Mel, for you both to be strong through this transition. She said it made her heart happy to learn about you and to share in her own small way, in the profoundly beautiful story of the Hermits, Mel & Andy. She came around the counter and hugged me, then picked up her bags of groceries and left the store.
Strangely enough, I am usually busy with customer after customer, with no time for anything but a quick "how are you?" and "thank you, have a nice day." But, not a single customer came to my register while this conversation took place. It was like everything else around us stopped or disappeared altogether. It was just me and this beautiful stranger who came into my day at the perfect time. It was pure magic, Andy! I think Mel just may have had a hand in that and I just had to let you know.
Thank you, Mel! And thank you, Andy. I'm so blessed to have you in my life!
Love & Light as you bimble on together forever, my Dear and Beautiful Soul Friends
want tae send mel a hug please leave a wee donation at the HIGHLAND HOSPICE below. love n hugs from ma wee warrior and me xx