You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘friendship’ tag.

Dear Bridget,

Thank you for you. For feeling the effects of that long flight of stairs with me. For hugs. For being light about death because it has touched you so often. For sharing my bitching. For laughing with me. For caring.

#yearoflove

Dear Jen,

Even though we’ve worked together for almost eight years, we’ve only met four times, and still you feel like my partner in the next cube – just 1,084 miles away. I love that we envy each other’s travels. I love that we send each other emails with no subject line when we want to complain about something. I love that we have each other’s backs when one of us is drowning. And I especially love how eternally positive you are. You say you’re really not always like that, but I think that’s just who you are at your core, and that’s beautiful. I’m grateful that we had some time together this trip. Thank you for being you.

Today’s quote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” — Anais Nin

#yearoflove

Dear Susanna,

Ah, my sister-from-another-mister. I got to spend less than five minutes with you today, and your very presence is like a balm to my spirit. You make me feel maternal and cared for at the same time. It seems we can each move the other to tears with a breath of empathy, one we seem to share only with one another, no matter how many other people we talk to. Thank you for entering my life four years ago, for our inexplicable and uncanny personal parallels, and for understanding me without words. I hope next time that we can find more than five minutes.

“There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.” — Unknown

#yearoflove

Today’s love note goes out to Rachel.

Dear Rachel,
Thank you for coming to brighten my home over this New Year’s. Your laugh lights up any space that you’re in. Your enthusiasm for surprises made helping deliver those surprises all the more fun. I wish we’d had more time to watch movies and hang out and just talk about everything. It’s wonderful to see how happy you make my wonderful little person, and I appreciate you letting me act like a Mom to you. I’m cuddled under the turquoise llama blanket that you and your actual Mom gave me, and I hope you make it home safely tonight. Looking forward to sharing tulips with you again in the Spring.

#YearofLove

I learned today of the death of a friend. Even though we hadn’t seen each other or even spoken in years, I still considered him a friend. Over the years, we were there for one another when things were falling apart in various sectors of our lives. It has saddened me. Saddened me because we hadn’t spoken in years. As I reach a certain age, I will lose more friends, just as these days, the world loses singers and actors that were icons of my teens and twenties. I love my friends and family, even if I don’t often communicate. And when they die, whether it’s sudden or slow, it’s always too soon. I am left with memories – good, funny, random, bittersweet. And never enough.

My wedding this summer brought me back to some of these people who are closest to my heart, and for that I amforever blessed.

It feels like it has been a year of passings for my friends, and we are not even a month in, and that makes me wonder. Why? Why did pneumonia steal away the larger-than-life man with the larger-than-life heart, whose loss has devastated one of my beloved friends? Why is another of my darlings, who so recently defied death herself, now faced with the slow, tender, painful, spiral of her mother’s passing? Why is a new daughter faced with the light of her grandmother suddenly extinguished?

I keep asking why, and there is no answer.

There is no way to take away the pain of loss. It does fade, gradually, like a well-loved shirt, laundered and worn until it comes apart at the seams and transforms into something different, or gets tucked in a drawer to stir memories when you catch sight of it as you’re looking for something else. But it is always there. Pain of loss transforms us in ways we cannot understand. I would hope it makes us kinder, gentler souls, who handle other souls with greater care, but I don’t know if that’s always so. The pain reshapes us inside, and we are never quite the same person as before, even if we think we are.

We are all treasures in process, I suppose.

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Quote of the day (and one quoted before): “You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” — Anne Lamott

Daily gratitudes:
Memories
MKL, always
Kelsea
The mystery of life
Walking

 

 

 

Today’s guest poet —  Sara Teasdale

If Death Is Kind

Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.

We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.

In His Era
(In abstract memory of the late Clark Wang.  Rest in peace, Clark.)

It was last week we found ourselves in Cat’s Cradle
After sangria on the too-cold rooftop of Papagayo’s
Waiting for the music.
We danced and smiled and bloomed
And Zan lusted after me
And I laughed and said no.
(I learned months later in a Boston parking lot
that he had a wife and six kids.  I was glad I had said
no.)

Sarah and I always wound up our nights
at the Continental Cafe, even when they were close to closing.
Coffee and Perrier
and talk of darkness in the lights of our souls.

Tonight, I indulge in Irish Whiskey with Christine
in a too-loud pub.
We talk of everything, and I lust
sight-unseen
after her 20-something son,
forgetting how old I am.

In my heart’s age,
my mind’s years,
I am still sitting on a wooden bench
at Cat’s Cradle,
marvelling at the music
as Trina and the band warm up,
and wondering who will
walk through the door
and what will happen
next.

I am not creeping up
on a half a century
unplanned,
writing poetry at night
on a public bus.

Or fighting a lingering battle with death,
and losing.

Or perhaps I am.
Perhaps we all are.

I wrote before about losing my friend Andrew to a tragic accident on September 1.  Today was the day of his memorial service here in Boulder.  I had definitely shed a few tears, but as is often the case with me, I had delayed my reaction to his death for several weeks.  I was tearful through most of the service, but once I hugged our friend C.J., the emotional dam cracked.  I started to weep.  After composing myself slightly, I sat and watched the slide show that Drew’s nephew had put together; then I lost it.  Just lost it.  The dam broke.  His dear friend Tom came and sat with me, clearly beaten down by his own grief, and let me cry.  He gave me one of Drew’s many (many) bandanas to cry in, to dry my tears, to remember him by.  Then I got better.

It is so hard to know that he is gone, that I won’t see him again. SO hard.

This celebration of Andrew was exactly what he would have wanted.  It was exactly what he DID want.  All his friends together, from all over the country, telling stories, laughing, crying.  So many of us walked away today with the same resolution – to be like Andrew and keep connected with our friends.   If there was one thing that stands out for me about him, it was his remarkable gift for staying in touch, for caring across the miles, for making sure you KNEW that he cared.  The best way that any of his friends could possibly honor him is to live our lives in that same spirit – the spirit of letting our friends know that they are not forgotten, not alone.  That is the simple, priceless legacy of this oh-so-human man.

One of the nicest things about today, aside from seeing some old friends, was making a new one.  What a wonderful surprise, what a wonderful gift, that I sat next to a woman I had met before, and we discovered we hit it off like we’d known each other for years.

I had been talking with a friend about this last night, about how bad I am at staying in touch with people who I love.  After today, I am more resolved than ever to change that facet of myself, to shed my own perception of myself as someone others don’t care about staying in touch with.  That perception is built solely by me and my own actions.  If I don’t like it, I can do something about it.  And that something will allow my life to be fuller and richer, just as Andrew’s was.  He never did anything halfway, and no one who knew him could say that his life was half-lived.  There were bad times and wonderful times, and he lived them all to the fullest extent possible.  The pictures of him on the slide show, on the cubes on the tables, all showed his joy.  I now wish I had been able to share in that joy even more than I did.

Of course, Andrew was there.  Towards the end of the afternoon, I experienced that odd shamanic phenomenon of seeing his face in others, just a glance, a glimpse, and it was gone.  On top of my visit with him a few days after his passing, it made sense – he did love to play and no one loved a good party better than Drew.  And he wanted so much to be sure that everyone was okay – especially Sarah.  He is playing now, playing with his new abilities to stay in touch with the people he loved.  He is smiling, as always.

His sister and his friends did a wonderful job arranging everything, expressing their feelings, and helping all of us remember the joy that was Andrew.  I thank them.  And I thank members of his railroad family for coming.

But most of all, I thank Andrew for having been a part of my life.  I miss him.

Updated – 9/17/10 –

I want to make a correction to this blog – and so I’m editing what I previously wrote, and clarifying in this paragraph as well.   As Railroader, in his comment, confirmed and as Drew’s family now knows, he was NOT talking on his cellphone.  There were witnesses and videos to confirm this, and it’s unforgiveable that this myth has been perpetuated anywhere – most especially by me, someone who loved him dearly and thinks of him daily.  And I apologize to his family for any additonal pain this post might have caused them. 

I’ve had more than my share of anticipated deaths over the past five years – parents, dogs, best friends.  Beings who I loved who died after lingering, contemplation and time to say goodbye.

Today was a different kind of death.  So incredibly sudden that not even the departed had time to prepare.

Andrew Weaver was one of the first of Pat’s friends who I met when we started dating 26 years ago.  I remember the first time I met him – he was working behind the line at a greasy spoon Greek restaurant in Boulder called the Aristocrat.  Pat had dated Andrew’s little sister before me and they had stayed close friends.

A big guy, with big appetites and few manners, he had a heart of gold, and would give you the shirt off his back – literally.  He was one of the most loyal people I know and asked only the same in return.  He had a soft spot for animals and kids, and had been down on his luck enough times to have compassion for others who found themselves in the same boat.  He was “Uncle” to Kelsea and to many other children as well.  A confirmed gossip, he was the first person I called after I moved out of Pat’s house.  I knew that telling Drew would save me the discomfort of telling anyone else.

He worked for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe – he’d encouraged me to apply for a job as an engineer, because there were so few women engineers and he thought it would be a cool thing for me.  This morning, he was killed, struck by a commuter train going 80 mph in a Minneapolis suburb, crossing a track from behind another train.

I can’t help but think about what the accident must have looked like, about what was left of him looked like.  I don’t want to think about it.  But I can’t help it.

And I can’t help but think about the absence in this world of light – the absence of his booming voice, his tight hugs, his unvarnished comments, and his gentle, unlucky spirit.

As I drove to work this morning, before the news came, I saw a double BNSF engine paused before the bridge overpass, and I thought of him.  I thought of his getting his MBA, of how he chewed with his mouth open, of his new girlfriend, of that blissful motorcycle ride he took me on one summer day, of how he looked in his black turtleneck after he broke his neck, of how he couldn’t turn his head because of poor spinal fusions, of how he’d told me things about Pat that I needed to know, of how he wept on my hands when I once visited him in jail, of how he used to bring me the most fragrant leis from Hawaii, where he was raised, and where his Mother is buried.  And perhaps he will be buried.  I thought of all those things before I knew he was gone.  Before I knew that there would not be any more new things to add to those thoughts of him.

It is September 1.  The world has lost a good man.  And I have lost a good friend.

Drew and Kelsea at Uncle CJ’s wedding.

When we were coming in the house last night, we were talking about someone she knew, and Kelsea said, “You know, X seems older than us.”  And then she realized what she had just said.  And I realized what she had just said.  And we laughed.  It’s an interesting mix of flattering and worrisome when your 13-year old thinks of you as being her age. 

It’s true, right now, we are close — more sister-like in many ways.  Now before you think what I always think about parents who want to be their kids’ friends, stop right there.  I never set out wanting to be Kelsea’s friend.  That was never a goal.  I’ve always been proud and happy to be her mom.  But somehow, the friend thing has just happened. I still do all the mom-things, like making her do her homework, take a shower, clean up (as best as can be expected), etc.  We still have the required talks about boys, sex, drugs, personal hygiene and just about anything else you can think of.  But at this point, she’s pretty self-disciplined.  She’s got a pretty good moral compass going (she even brought up the concept of the moral compass herself a few weeks ago).

As I rediscover myself as a single person, I am rediscovering a lot of buried treasure – otherwise known as fun.  And Kelsea is fun.  So when you put the two of us together, we have…fun.  It’s just not always the typical mother-daughter fun (whatever that is). 

Last night, for example, we settled in to watch a little TV.  Normal, right?  But what we wound up watching was “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.  Suddenly, the mother-daughter TV time travelled into another dimension. 

As with most kids her age, Kelsea knows a lot more worldly things than I give her credit for.  I have basically given up trying to “shield” her from topics that are overtly sexual or violent or evil.  Between friends, the internet, and her Dad not doing that sort of editing, she seems to know a little about just about everything.  In watching drag queens compete for the ultimate drag queen title, I actually found the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that don’t come up in ordinary conversation: transvestism, transgender tendencies, make-up, cattiness, fashion.  I had the chance to clarify certain questions that she hadn’t had anyone to ask.  So it wound up being a good thing.

It also wound up being a politically incorrect hoot.  We were calling each other the choice names we learned from JuJuBee, Raven and the new Tyra for the rest of the night.  I was compelled to remind her this morning not to use those terms during her visit to the Alzheimer’s Memory Center today.  But I found it as funny as she did.  As always when we went to bed, even though we were both tired, we spent half an hour talking between our rooms about dreams, boys, travel.  It reminds me of how my Dad used to lay at the foot of my bed, talking with me about anything, as I was going to sleep when I was littler than Kelsea.

This morning, we sat on the kitchen floor eating breakfast and composing new LOLs with the LOL magnets on the refrigerator door, and speculated on how many other mother/daughters eat breakfast on the floor.  Not many, we concluded.

I’ve written recently about how I’ve been warned by almost everybody (except a very kind blog friend) how Kelsea will turn into the seven-headed unrecognizable demon from the black lagoon at any moment, so I should cherish these times.  Well, guess what?  I do cherish these times.  I would cherish these times even if the transformation was not a possiblity in the offing.  (And don’t worry, I’m waiting for that first shoe to drop.)

So maybe I’m not instilling in her the finest table manners, how to fold a hospital corner (okay, I have tried that) or how not to slurp her soup.  But I hope I’m strengthening her base of knowledge.  I hope I’m increasing her trust in her mother as someone she can talk to about absolutely anything, someone who won’t judge her regardless of the topic, her opnions or her actions.  Someone to whom she can reach out if she needs help or feels troubled or confused.

I’d rather be doing that.  And laughing with her.  And just loving her.

July 2019
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