What do you take to a Last Celebration of Life party? This Saturday, there is a come and go affair, intentionally to be “boisterous” – as the invitation reads. Cards and letters are welcomed, but no sad faces. A friend has fought a worthy battle with cancer and the fight is coming to an end. He wants to have a last hoorah with friends and family, abundantly full of food and drink. He wants a “happy, joyful time”.
His request for the party is evidence of the worth he places on friendship. He takes to heart the quote by C.S. Lewis:
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival.
He has little time on earth remaining, yet he so values his friends that he wants to go out celebrating with them. And so, we will celebrate indeed.
My husband said he wants to take a nice bottle of champagne along with glasses to share it with him. I love the idea.
What better wine to analogize his life? Great effort goes into making true champagne. That effort involves whole grape bunches hand-harvested, gently pressed and then fermented, blended to the perfect cuvée, bottled after sugar and yeast have been added to create the bubbles, allowed to age on the lees, meticulously turned and shaken to settle the decomposed yeast – which is then disgorged – and finally topped up to the desired sweetness before corking. Ready for the perfect time to be savored.
I read his blog recently where he quoted a verse:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)
He said, Please know that I am being comforted by our Lord and Savior. He is holding me up and keeping me close to him…The last few days have been an absolute jumble emotionally: Acceptance, possible hope, denial, and finally acceptance and peace…Dying is the easy part; it’s those that are left behind who will need you.
He’s setting a beautiful example for those left behind – by his faith, by his transparency of emotion, and by his desire to have a party with friends.
Outwardly wasting away – dead yeast cells in the bottle – yet inwardly being renewed – the breaking down of those cells, which gives the wine depth and complexity. And that’s him. He’s reached the pinnacle of this life – ready to be uncorked – prepared for what’s next. The rigorous process he has undergone not only makes his life deep, complex and intense, but also elegant and fragrant. And most assuredly effervescent.
So we will corner him just for a moment, uncork some of the best sparkling wine made by the most painstaking of methods, raise a glass and say: