Posts Tagged With: friendship

I Missed Celebrating an Important Birthday

Photo by Joey Gannon from Pittsburgh, PA (Candles) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Joey Gannon from Pittsburgh, PA (Candles) [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

I missed celebrating an Important Birthday!

Actually, I didn’t really miss it. I thought about it all that day.

I just avoided acknowledging it out loud.

Today I spent time with the birthday girl’s daughter-in-law. We talked about life with Kathy. It felt good and more than okay to say her name; the twinge I usually get when I talk about her out loud didn’t pinch quite so much. Not sure why.

Anyway, that bit of conversation knocked open a closed door. Which makes it possible to share this song that gut-punched me a year ago.

By that I mean the song spoke right to my heart, my head, my spirit.

Yeah, I’ve kept it to myself for a while now. Well, I did share it with MSH, cuz he already gets it. If no one else gets it, that’s okay.

I had decided long before birthday time that I’d share this on her day. And then I couldn’t. Didn’t. Refused to. Which, looking back, seems selfish. So I’ve included this gem by Sarah McLachlan from Toy Story 2. Listen with your ears and with your heart and you’ll get a glimpse of friendship at its most real.

The relationship Kathy and I had changed me. What a gift she was and continues to be for me. She taught me to love myself, to embrace the weird wonderfulness of me. It doesn’t get much better than what we had. What a blessing!

Happy Belated Birthday Kathy, my friend. No regrets! Love ya!

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.” ~ Shel Silverstein

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

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Categories: Friendship | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Advice I’ve Gotten In the Past Year? “Practice Radical Self-Care”

Great recs found here.

Great recs found here.

The best advice I got during the past twelve months wasn’t directed at me. And it arrived through an unlikely source, a Goodreads question and answer session.

I don’t usually follow or sign up for these sorts of things. I think the author’s work normally speaks for itself. But I made an exception this one time.  When Anne Lamott, the author of “Help! Thanks! Wow!” among other hilarious, heartfelt and honest books, accepted a stint on the Featured Author Chat over at Goodreads, I jumped on board eager to pick up some writerly advice and a few laughs.

The directness in Anne’s writing reminds me of my best friend who passed away early this year. They both have a no-holds-barred approach to communication. Say it like it is. Don’t worry about offending anyone. Speak truth. Let it all fall where it ought to.

Feels like I get an infusion of new oxygen in my blood after reading Anne’s books. I figured I’d more than enjoy reading what she has to say in a different medium.

Little did I know how helpful it would be.

Sure, she answered queries about writing and about her personal life. But then, a surprise question and an even more surprising answer came through.

In response to a reader’s question about how to deal with depression and discouragement, Anne Lamott’s answer jumped out at me as if it’d been highlighted with fluorescent green marker.

“Depressed and discouraged is really hard, and plenty to deal with. My response, if it was me, was to practice radical self-care, by being exquisitely kind and gentle and patient with myself, exactly as I would be with a friend. Love and gentleness are always the answer. “ – Anne Lamott, from a Goodreads discussion 12/12/13

“Practice radical self-care.”

I’ve said that to myself over and over ever since I read it. Even more so since a funeral and burial and the ensuing grief that’s hovered all year.

So we’ve all heard that “self-care” part of the equation over the years, right? But “radical?” And how do you care for yourself in a radical way?

I turn to my usual sources. I like the third Merriam-Webster definition of radical.

“Radical: very different from the usual or traditional : extreme.”

So I’ve looked at how I normally care for myself and I attempt to do the opposite, or at least a ninety degree shift.

Sounds difficult. But I’ve given it a try anyway.

So how do I “practice radical self-care”?

  • Letting myself ignore all my lists occasionally and the usual side of guilt they’re served with
  • I say “not right now” instead of “sure, anytime, anything”
  • Simply sitting and letting my mind go blank, often
  • Crying when the tears want to leak out
  • Laughing even if it goes against all reason or feels wrong
  • Planning something unprecedented, like getting a manicure, or a spur of the moment trip
  • Saying “No”
  • Reminding MSH that I’m not depressed, just grieving
  • Practicing my depression treatment steps, just in case
  • Accepting that sorrow and faith can coexist in the same brain
  • Journaling, several times a day if necessary, letting words carry some of the weight
  • Napping, earlier bedtimes, later wake times
  • Talking about how I’m feeling

The other part of what Anne said, I’d applied in situations involving others, but rarely with myself.

“Being exquisitely kind and gentle and patient with myself.

The key word there: “exquisitely,” as in “acutely perceptive, discriminating, intense.”

Kind, patient and gentle with myself. How could I go wrong? That was easier the first month or two after my friend died. But then I hit some preconceived notion of “times up” on the grieving thing and stopped being so easy on myself.
Photo by Kettie Olsen

Photo by Kettie Olsen

So I try again and again. And I remind myself again, as Anne said, “Love and gentleness are always the answer.”

I get radical. I care for myself. Practice exquisite patience and gentleness. I apply the concepts of love and kindness to myself. Kind of extreme ideas for me.

It’s a daily, sometimes hourly process working through depression, discouragement and grief.

I owe big thanks for such unusually worded advice from someone who’s been there to someone still wandering the path toward a new normal.

*~~*~~*

Categories: Cancer, Death, Hope | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Serendipity of Your Birthday On Memorial Day

Dear Kathy,

I find it interesting that your birthday this year also happens to fall on Memorial Day. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had planned it that way.

I’d really wanted to visit you on your birthday but I’m afraid it’ll be crowded and noisy and I just wanted some quiet one on one time with you. I’d even thought of bringing along some hummus and pita bread to munch. And, of course, a forty-four ounce diet coke, easy ice, with diet cherry flavoring and handful of real cherries.

Instead, I think I’ll come by for a visit in a few weeks, when the crowds have died down (no pun intended) and it’s quiet and peaceful. Hoping it isn’t too hot by then, or too windy. I suppose if your geraniums survive the summer at “your Sarah’s” house nearby then I’d do okay with the summer heat on “the mountain.”

pieces-of-the-puzzleI have to say I have mixed feelings about visiting you. It just won’t be how it was. Of course, what is anymore? Seems like someone took the puzzle that was my life in January, threw it up in the air and let the pieces fall wherever. I think the wind caught a few pieces and carried them away.

Can I also admit something horrible? I’m kinda angry. That sounds really stupid as I write it. All those conversations we had for years about what “now” would look and feel like, all those assignments you gave me, all those things in the far distant future actually happened. At the time of those conversations none of it felt real.

Surreal, yes.

Real, never.

“Now” is here and more real than I imagined and I don’t like it one bit.

See the paisley shape in each one? Not as cool all by itself.

See the paisley shape in each one? Not as cool all by itself.

I’m also a bit aggravated because you set this gold standard for the perfect friendship. Nothing else will ever measure up to that. That’s not really your fault. You couldn’t help it that you were the friendship yin to my yang. Now I’m just a funky looking squiggle, a paisley shape. Dumb and boring.

I keep expecting to run into you. And yet, I avoid going to your house. I’m not following through with those assignments you gave me. I’m a slacker.

Truth is, it hurts too dang much to go over to your place now. Even driving past twists this pain through my back and into my heart and makes an ache that takes days to breath away. I should get over that. Eventually.

I also expect to see you in dreams. I did, a couple of weeks ago. I wrote the dream down in my journal. Reread it a few times. Gave up trying to understand it. Too much like real life. I was hoping for revelation, insight, wisdom, healing, and yes, maybe even laughter. This dream didn’t have any of that in it. But I did see you, your face, that light you have in your eyes. And I heard your bossy, take charge voice, sort of. It had softened some.

This letter probably gets your dander up. You’d tell me to suck it up. You’d say…I don’t know. What would you say?

I can’t remember now. I don’t want to remember. And I do want to remember.

photo-24 copy

translation: quit your belly aching

Actually, now that I’ve thought about it, you’d say, “Kwitchurbelyakn!” Just like that little sign on your stove said.

This was meant as a perky, happy letter. One to let you know I’m okay, even though I miss you. I’d planned it out in my head to start with a great joke, share a couple of funny memories, finish with another good joke and then sign off with some witty remark.

You know me better than that. You’d see through the smoke and mirrors and would call BS when you got done reading a letter like that.

What advice would you give me? Can you just drop me a line somehow? You’re one of the most resourceful, innovative women I know. Surely you can do a workaround to get word to me. A mystery text. A phrase in a book I’m reading jumping out at me. A glimpse of your big smile on someone’s face. Be creative, I’m pretty open-minded about however you reach me.

Tall order, I know. Plus, you’re probably pretty busy reorganizing heaven so it runs more efficiently.

Just so you aren’t completely irritated by my whiney letter I’ll let you know I’ve trolled the internet for jokes and I share them, almost every day. Just trying to stay on the sanity side of the grief thing. It seems to help, some.

This quote by Bill Cosby caught my eye and, of course, I thought of you.

“You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive. it.” ~ Bill Cosby

You did that really well, so I’m trying to keep up the tradition. Laughter, even in the crappy times. So here’s a parting joke, or a party joke. Whichever.

Little Johnny’s new baby brother was screaming up a storm. He asked his mom, “Where’d we get him?”

His mother replied, “He came from heaven, Johnny.”

Johnny says, “WOW! I can see why they threw him out!”

You’re a keeper, no matter how demanding you might get. Try to stay out of trouble, if you can. I know you like to stir things up, have things your way. Try to remember you aren’t the one in charge anymore.

This was probably two years ago or more. An eternity and just yesterday.

This was two years ago or more. An eternity and just yesterday.

Here’s that picture I took a couple of years ago that you photoshopped and sent back to me. I should frame it to remind me of your sense of humor, your ability to laugh in life’s toughest situations. Not to mention, I’d get to see that mischievousness in your eyes. And it’d remind me to be happy anyway.

I miss you a ton.

Happy Birthday!

With love from your bestie,

Kami

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Death, Holiday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Miss About You

photo by Richard Croft [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

photo by Richard Croft

Dear Kathy,

So apparently there’s no texting allowed in heaven or I’d have heard from you by now. Dang it.

I figured maybe, just maybe, you’d get a split second or two to do some reading, since you love to read. So I thought if I wrote out some thoughts I’d had lately, you’d get the message somehow. Call me naïve, or silly or weird, I don’t care.

Also, you’ve been on my mind more than ever, imagine that. I find myself thinking of things I need to tell you about, and then remember you aren’t close by to just drop in and have a chat with. So I’ve been kind of keeping a mental list of things to talk with you about. Maybe you won’t mind if I drop you a letter once in a while to sort of make sure I’m staying connected with you somehow.

For my first letter to you I’ve come up with a list.

It’s a list of just some of the things I’ve missed about you since you left almost a month ago:

  • How insistent you are about being on time, and others being on time, too. Like a contract, you always say.
  • Seeing your face light up when you think about, talk about or get a text or a call from your husband.
  • How you always say, “love you” when I leave, and how I know you mean it.
  • Hearing about your wild and crazy daycare adventures.
  • Being completely comfortable in my skin with I’m with you. No need to weigh my words, or be careful about what I say or do.
  • Finding you sitting in “your spot” on the third floor at the Mayo, when I wander up from parking the van. That smile I get when you see me finally come around the corner.
  • How you don’t like it when we end up wearing the same color shirt to go somewhere together.
  • Getting a text from you asking “what ya doing?” and knowing it means I get to spend time with you.
  • Talking about books and movies and kids and husbands and life and death and religion and politics.
  • How you watch the clock for Sonic Happy Hour to roll around.
  • Eating pita bread and hummus while we talk nonstop, then being too full to eat our Fatoosh salad or Kabob.
  • Picking up a conversation with no glitches or strangeness after two or three or even four weeks of not seeing each other.
  • How you aren’t afraid or hesitant to ask for what you need or for what you want.
  • Finally being over a cough or cold so I cold come hang out again.
  • Having you help me make sense of the latest weird development in my strange life and how you say it makes your life seem normal by comparison.
  • Taking photos of your blooming bushes or my wildflowers to show you, or having you point out the cactus in bloom when we drive.
  • Feeling at home in THE CHAIR in your room and talking about nothing and everything.
  • Getting fries from McDonald’s and a Frosty from Wendy’s.
  • How vigilant you are when babysitting your daughter’s stuffed animals and dolls.
  • Saying it like you see it, no sugar added.
  • Just being together whenever and wherever.
  • Feeling like one of the cool “in” people when I’m with you.
  • Knowing I have someone who totally gets me without having to lay it out in detail.

So that’s all I can think of at the moment to tell you about. Except, I’m feeling pretty lucky to have you for a friend. You’re one of a kind, in case I forgot to tell you. Oh, and I love you and miss you like you can’t believe.

I’m guessing you’re busy being all angelic and stuff. I get that. So don’t worry about trying to get in touch.

Mostly I feel like you’re right here in my heart anyway. I can hear your voice in my head, telling me to crank the tunes, open the sunroof and enjoy my Diet Coke. I’m trying to do just that, cuz you’d want me to. But, it’s not just the same without you in the passenger seat.

256px-Mail_Boxes_Bruny_Island

photo by Reinhard Dietrich

Try to stay out of trouble up there.

I miss you.

Your bestie,

Kami

Categories: Cancer, Death, Friendship, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

Good Grief and other Nonsense

My internal weather.

My internal weather.

“The only education in grief that any of us ever gets is a crash course. Until Caroline had died I had belonged to that other world, the place of innocence, and linear expectations, where I thought grief was a simple, wrenching realm of sadness and longing that gradually receded. What that definition left out was the body blow that loss inflicts, as well as the temporary madness, and a range of less straightforward emotions shocking in their intensity.” ~Gail Caldwell, Let’s Take the Long Way Home

I read this book by Gail Caldwell a while back. Before I’d met my best friend. It was an interesting read back then. I even quoted it several times in this blog post last year.

Now I’m rereading the book as a roadmap, trying to find my way out of this jungle I’m lost in.

I had no idea I’d feel this way. I thought I’d feel sad, of course, after Kathy’s Myeloma wrenched her from life. But this isn’t anything like any sadness or depression I’ve ever felt.

There’s real, tangible physical pain. No one ever told me about that. People don’t discuss grief actually, so when would I have learned this?

And I have only one channel in my head that comes in clear enough to see or hear, the Kathy Channel. Twenty-four hours a day it plays. That bluish light that a TV screen throws out haunting the recesses of my head day and night. Oh sure, I hear and see other things. I go about my day at one-quarter speed, doing dishes, moving laundry about, showing up at places I said I’d be at.

But the background buzz, hum, light, music and weather consists of Kathy. She’d find that funny and pathetic at the same time. Glad I could humor her, sorry if I’m letting her down.

I can’t find a remote to change the emotional channel I’m stuck on.  And it takes more energy than I have to look for it and figure out the buttons if I stumbled onto it.

Insert exhaustion photo here. Picture whatever fits for you, I can’t think that hard today.

I feel successful when I get dressed. When I eat. When I carry on a conversation without saying her name or referring to her somehow.

Please don’t ask me to go to the grocery store. It takes hundreds of steps to get to the dairy section, and more energy than I have to lift the gallon of milk into the cart. And then seeming miles away the produce section waits, the logic of its order lost on me. And the loudspeaker blaring, do loudspeakers do anything else but blare? Obviously the overnight restocking crew cranks the music up and no one ever turns it down. How am I supposed to think through this grocery list with so many bad songs from the eighties and nineties blasting away at my every thought? And heaven forbid I should see someone I know. I dig up my cheerful face, drag out my pretend untired voice, pull my shoulders back to give the illusion of standing up.

I attempt all the right responses.

“Fine. Great. Tough. Getting through. Life. Goes On. Thanks. Sure. Uh huh. See ya around.”

Then I cave in on myself. I want to curl up in the shopping cart and sleep, right there beside the salad dressings and croutons and bacon bits. Pull some cereal boxes over my head like a bad blanket.

But that would indicate some kind of madness or lack of sanity or a grip slipped. So instead, I stare at the grocery list and find something on it that tells me what I should do next, if I can go home yet.

All this from a mere five-year friendship.

I can’t begin to fathom a twenty-five year marriage with half of the duo gone. It’d be like a body with no skin, all raw, exposed nerves and internal parts on fire with rage, salt encrusted, oozing.

Someone should do something to fix this. This can’t be right. Aren’t there rules or laws that make this kind of pain illegal or impossible?

Categories: Cancer, Death, Mental Health, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Taking One Day at a Time

It’s Gratituesday! I’m grateful for time with my best friend today. It felt like a “normal” day, not a month or so away from dying kind of day. We talked like it was any old kind of day, well, except for everything we talked about that isn’t like any other kind of conversation most friends get to have.

good day sunshine

good day sunshine (Photo credit: eye of einstein)

But really, it felt wonderful. It felt almost normal. She had more energy than usual. We were in sync, the world’s machinery ran smoothly for us, we laughed, we dodged crying, we felt like a couple of teenagers getting away with something.

We snuck out of the house and got some early lunch before the germ filled crowds showed up. We went to a matinée movie, sitting in a theater completely empty except for the two of us. The place as bacteria free as a person can get out in public. Her immune system appreciated it. We even talked out loud during the movie which made the day even better. No shushing involved.

I think we must have looked like two old sisters spending time together toddling about town leaning on each other, holding each other up.

I often wonder who is helping who in this relationship. Actually, there’s no wonder involved. I’m pretty certain I’m the one getting helped, being served, feeling loved and learning how to be real.

Yup, today felt great.

I’m thankful for every day I can get in with my bestie.

Categories: Cancer, Fun, Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Six to Eight, Give or Take a Little

Blink

Blink (Photo credit: ballookey)

What would you do with six to eight weeks to live?

Six weeks equal forty-two days.

Forty-two days!

That’s 1008 hours. That’s all!

Eight weeks equal fifty-six days. Which amounts to 1344 hours. Sounds like a lot put that way, sort of.

Blink.

Blink again and it’s gone.

What did you just do in the past six weeks? In the past two months? Did you do anything noteworthy? Impact someone’s life for the better? Make a change in your life that felt good? Spend time with family? Apologize? Make amends? Let go of a grudge? Let go of the past?

What plans for your future are you going to miss if you’re gone in two months? Who will you miss? Who will miss you?

Have you laughed much in the past six weeks? How about tears, how much have you cried in the past eight weeks? Did you read anything life-changing, interesting or worthwhile? Did you learn something new in the past eight weeks?

Has anything caught your breath in the past one thousand hours? Been surprised by something? Have you just sat quietly with someone and felt comfortable in the silence?

Have you thanked someone in the past two months? Have you taken some time to think about all the hard things you’ve overcome to get you to where you are now? How about thinking through the good, glorious, hilarious, fun, astounding and amazing things you’ve had in your life so far?

Could you let go of it all?

Who would you say goodbye to? How would you say goodbye?

Is there someone who’d need to hear that you love them before you left, or are you sure they know? Are you really sure?

I can hardly breathe for thinking about such things.

Maybe the six to eight weeks will really turn into twelve weeks or more. That’d be good, that’d be great!  But still, it wouldn’t be enough. Not nearly. What I want is six to eight more years, twelve more years, a thousand years.

I don’t want to have to say goodbye. I don’t want to let go of a friendship. I don’t know how to permanently let go of a best friend.

I’ve never had to do that. I don’t ever want to do it.

And yet.

Blink.

Categories: Death | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Caskets, Headstones, Tears and Laughter

Somewhere in the top ten worst things to have to deal with as a human being, I’m just guessing here, I imagine picking out a casket or a headstone for a loved one would rank in the horrendous category.

Headstone

Headstone (Photo credit: Karen_O’D)

Also in that same range of horrific would be picking out your own casket and headstone. Worse, if you happened to be younger than fifty.

Can’t even get my head around those things.

A few years ago Mom and Dad bought their shared headstone. They had it engraved with all us kids’ names on the back. On the front they have their names with their birth dates and then the dash.  The blank after the dash will get filled in eventually. Hopefully not for a couple more decades. They had it set in the ground next to my brother’s resting place. Some fifty odd years ago they had the wisdom to buy a couple of plots when they purchased his. Brian wasn’t even a year old.

Talk about horrific things in life to endure. That’s surely the absolute worst. Losing a child. How does someone survive that? I don’t ever want to know.

They made that purchase to save us kids the expense and hassle. That’s just like them, always thinking about everyone else. Not long after they did this I was visiting and they wanted to show me the headstone. I gotta’ tell ya’ I was a bit freaked out by the idea. Once I got there, I was okay with it, sort of.

A beautiful cemetery. It’s in the northern foothills of the town I grew up in. A green sloping knoll with a few small trees. The view from their plot overlooks the entire valley north to south and east to west. In my younger days we used to visit every Memorial Day, place flowers in the metal vase, pull a few weeds, try to figure out where to stand so as not to be disrespectful. That’s Memorial Day to me. Remembering my brother that I never met, since I wasn’t born yet. But we remembered him.

The last 8mm reels Dad transferred to DVD had scenes with Brian and my other older brother. It felt like Memorial Day watching that. I wanted to reach out and hug him, say hello, ask how things are going up there. Part of me pictures him as growing up, getting married, hanging out with the rest of us. Part of me pictures him staying small, sweet and cuddly. Part of me wishes I’d had a chance to know him.

Isn’t that odd? He’s family though. So it shouldn’t feel odd, I guess.

This isn’t what I thought I’d say today. Surprising what sneaks out of your heart when you open the door a little for something else you stuffed in and quickly slammed the door on.

Maybe what I really meant to write isn’t for public consumption. Maybe what I really need to say about death and dying can only be spoken in the language of tears.

Of course, there’s an exception to that. I know someone who can talk about death in the language of laughter, too. She has a braver and more urgent reason to speak about it. Sure, she cries the words, too, sometimes. But the mixture of the two languages is  part of what apparently keeps her sane in the face of something very nearly unspeakable.

Death and dying.

Tears. And Laughter?

I think I need language lessons from her.

*********************************************************

Related Posts I’ve written:

My Closest Friend is Dying

Sudden or Slow?

Riding the Killer Waves

 

Categories: Death | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wilson and Wilson

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m grateful for all the Wilsons in my life.

There are two kinds of Wilsons. Well, three actually. There are people who are actually named Wilson. I’m just talking about the other two kinds.

There’s the Tim the Tool Man Taylor’s neighbor in the old sitcom “Home Improvement” whom we never really know the identity of. I call this sort of friend a Fence Wilson. This near stranger shares great insights, silly quotes, and surprising help. His varied and vast experiences and confidence shed light when things gets dark. Surprisingly this Wilson seems available when his neighbor is in need.

A wood fence

Who’s behind that fence? A friend maybe?

I have Fence Wilsons in my life that serve a similar purpose.  I don’t know them really well and yet they bring light and insight, help and laughter into my life. I consider them friends in every sense of the word. We can go long spans of time without talking and still things just click when we do finally connect. They often share wisdom and insights in our rare and short interactions that carry me through or illuminate a situation. It’s uncanny, but they appear as needed and usually without warning. But their presence warms  and comforts me.

Some of these Wilsons I’ve never even met, except through the internet. Don’t get all weirded out by that. You’d be surprised at how much a friendship can develop that way. I know I have been.

The other kind of Wilson I’m thinking of shares similarities with Chuck’s (Tom Hanks) “friend” the volleyball in the movie “Castaway.” I can see the confused look on your face already. You have inanimate friendships? No. Not that I’m aware of. Hang in here with me while I explain.

photo-17 copy 6

No, this adorable child is not named Wilson. You get the idea though, right?

Wilson arrived unexpectedly in a rather uncommon way. Wilson didn’t look like a friend to start with. In fact, there was some pain involved before the two “friends” hit it off.  It took a bit of trauma for Tom Hanks character to recognize he had a friend in Wilson. There was something of himself in Wilson, albeit it was only a hand print, but it was something primal and important that spoke to Chuck. When no one else was there, Wilson showed up and served as a tenuous link to sanity. Wilson’s companionship probably saved Chuck’s life.

And then look at what a great listener Wilson was. None better. He didn’t give unwanted or unnecessary advice or expect anything unreasonable. He stuck around through some tough times. When it was time for Wilson to move on it was heartbreaking to let him go. But it was time.

Friendships like this Wilson happen rarely which makes them all the more precious. The connection happens sometimes instantly, but usually over time. The package they come in may not read or look like a friend, but a friend it is.

When I’ve felt lost or adrift or in need in reassurance, the Wilsons have come through for me. I am a lucky person that way. Lucky to have friends and a wide variety of them. Some of them are even related to me by blood. Those are particularly precious.

My Wilson friends add variety and flavor and a level of joy I’m particularly grateful for today.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Mental Health, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Closest Friend is…Dying

I saw this Daily Post prompt today and thought this would be good for me to write about. I thought I might simply write something but not really post it. It would be cathartic, healing, helpful, insightful. Writing on this topic could lead to some much-needed answers.

I’ve written about her and our friendship before, but that’s been a while. It’s time to think things through again.

Vault Door

Vault Door  (Photo credit: mmahaffie)

Crap.

I sit here blank and empty.

Now I see I have a bunch of steel walls of denial and protection shielding me from facing this reality.

Oh, we talk about it. She and I. What her funeral will consist of, who will speak, what music to have, even what food to serve at the luncheon afterwards.  We’ve talked about her headstone, a bench for visitors. We’ve talked about how she doesn’t want to die in a hospital, but at home. We’ve talked about the raw deal this is. We’ve talked about the good stuff that’s happened in spite of such misery. We’ve talked about the constant pain, the nausea, the chemofuzzybrain. We’ve talked and talked and talked.

Not sure there’s a topic we haven’t touched on.

We’ve talked about our lives. Lots of that stuff. That’s what makes friends, talking about real things, worries, bad choices, craziness, kids, husbands, fun times. It’s a pretty even give and take, too. You’d think it wouldn’t be. You’d think it’d be me listening to her and her concerns. But no. She’s quite the listener. And she gets it. She gets my odd life, she commiserates with my whiny ways. She asks how I’m doing and then she cares and remembers. It isn’t all about her. How’s that for an amazing friend?

There are days I do a bunch of the listening, but we’re pretty evenly matched on talking and listening.

She’s got my back. And I’ve got hers.

That’s friendship. Someone you can count on who gets you.

It stinks big time that I’ve finally got this best friend ever in the history of the world after a zillion years and now she’s going to go away.  It’s not like she’s moving across the country and we can call every day. It’s not like she’s moving up north for more reasonable weather and we can still text back and forth. Crap. No. It’s not like that at all.

As far as I know there’s no social media, telegraph, phone, wireless connection, garage code or front door that I can knock on to get in touch with her once she’s gone.

three drinks from sonic

(Photo credit: Rakka)

Then what?

I have no idea.

I don’t even want to go there, think that far ahead, or be that person.

I’m just going to stay in denial. Who says I can’t. No one, that’s who. I can pretend as long as I want that our friendship will last forever, that’s she’s always going to be there.

I’m going to pretend that we’ll keep getting diet cherry Cokes at Sonic for the rest of our lives, until we’re dragging our great-grandkids along for happy hour slushies and corn dogs.

You would, too.

Believe me. With a best friend like I have you would be in denial, too.

Categories: Death, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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