May 12th, 2009 (09:56 pm)
current location: chair
current mood: sad
current song: None
I lost a childhood chum recently. This week has been the week where I cope with the loss. I was in a different country during her memorial service and I am pained to have missed that celebration of her impressive life. It's been a lot harder for me than I expected it to be. I have been reading some of the things that she wrote and looking at her lovely pictures online. In a way, I am getting to know parts of her better in her death than I knew when she was alive. In her life, she was somebody that I knew best when we were very young. It had been a few years since I had last seen her in person. I avidly read and occasionally commented on her online postings. (Not because I am a devoted or constant friend, but because they were so entertaining, clever and surprising.) Her writing was (is) rarely beautiful. She had a unique gift for language and thought. She was also Queen of the Random and Unexpected. I could never anticipate what she would next post, but it was always a delight or something to make a person think deeply. Unfortunately, I was not a part of her current life in any real-time sense. I wish very much that I had been. I have enough love for all of the people that I know, and have known. It's just that I barely have enough time for even a few of the people who are close to me in a geographic sense.
I feel a bit guilty sensing her departure so acutely. What right do I have to miss her, when she was already not close to me in a daily way? And I feel selfish telling her loved ones that I, too, am sad that she is no longer on this plane of existence with us. The greatest loss must be in the lives of the people that she was currently close to. I also feel a bit mad; being so grief stricken over an event, death, that is a part of my weekly or monthly routine. Professionally, we medics become sort of death and grieving experts. I, of all people, should be able to understand that it is inevitable. I should know that the hugs, the witty postings, the cups of coffee, and glasses of wine are all gifts. I do know that death claims the young as well as the old. Still, it is a great and heartbreaking shock to me that this beloved figure of my youth is one that I will not see again in this life.
I went to a rural school where the grades were jumbled together a bit, due to small class sizes. The blessing of small schools is that age based discrimination is a luxury that can't be afforded. So, though she was closer in age to my younger brother, she was often kind enough to have me over in her home. Her family was a bit more cohesive than mine was able to be at the time. The evenings in their home were a great source of comfort and solace to me. I wish that I could remember more of the details. Reading what her other friends say about her brings certain parts of my past times with her into laser sharp focus. Of course, I won't have the chance to play 'remember when...' games with her anytime soon. So all that I have of her are my imperfect memories from a difficult time in my own life. I don't know why that hurts so badly. My heart and mind keep screaming at me, "NOT ENOUGH!" I want there to be more still, for there to have been more. And I want everything that there was there to be something that I can easily recall.
Lacking more, I look through her photos. I see her intelligent, and achingly beautiful, face staring out from photographs taken across the world and I think, "Oh, I recognize her!" I see the lovely shining girl that I knew inside of the radiant woman that she became. I read the things that people write about her. A lot of references to light come up. I think, "Yes, she always was full of brilliance, of course people describe her that way." I remember that she was blunt and honest. I remember that she was funny! She often used her humor to cheer up other people. I remember that she was giving. Even in an egalitarian and wonderful school, I was not the most popular kid. My face was spotty, I was poor, even by the standards of the area. And clothes hand-washed on a wood stove often become a sort of dingy gray, with their original colors quite irretrievable. Though we had to spend time at school, at lunch and P.E. together, the fish sticks at dinner and the late night talks were things that kept me going. I admire her greatly. I respect the things that she accomplished. I am proud to have ever known her. She inspires me to make something of the writing that I so love to do. I am grateful to have the chance to try to get to know her a bit more now. Most people who die do not leave behind so large a group of loved ones and so great a body of writings. It's a rare gift I have that I can seek these resources out now.
I guess most grieving is selfish in one way or another. It's selfish to miss a person that (I believe) can only be found as Goodness or in a Good Place now. And it's selfish to feel that a part of your own self has also died, when you feel that it was living inside of another person. But, such self centered thoughts cannot be avoided at such a time. I feel that a great big light and life is not here right now. And I very much wish that she still was! I want to read her wonderful, and often strange, new postings a few times every week. I want to see new travel photos from her latest adventure. And I very much wish that I could still see her in the person again! My eyes won't stop watering. NOT ENOUGH! There just wasn't. When something, or somebody, is so good, you just don't want it to end. The adventure just shouldn't stop. In my heart, I feel that it still goes on somewhere. I just want to to be where I can still see it.
Goodbye, goodbye!! I miss you. You touched me more than I knew, or told you. A thousand thanks. And a thousand more to your family. I wish that you didn't have to go so soon.