Man, the last week has really knocked me on my ass. I know I promised to share some words on how to bring heaven here on earth, but that must wait. As John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Well life indeed did happen to me last week. It drop-kicked me into the state of grief.
I first received news last Friday that a very special person in my life, who recently had a tumor removed from his brain, now has brain cancer. A rare form. Having only reconnected with him in the past couple of years, the news hit me hard. We knew each other as kids so there is an extra poignancy in all of this. As I attempted to wrap my mind around this, the tears began to flow. Within a couple of days I felt I was starting to be able to grasp the brevity of the situation when I received the news that a friend of mine died suddenly last Wednesday after recently being diagnosed with cancer.
What? my brain said. No. No way. No FUCKING way. I remember walking away from my computer and in a fog, headed outside to share the news with my mate. I remember seeing him and saying words, but I don’t recall just how I shared the news. This is a woman whom I never met. I know, odd isn’t it? Not if you knew our stories. We met in the spring of 1997 through an internet chat board for women dealing with panic and agoraphobia. We both happened to be ending our marriages as well at the time so obviously we had a lot in common. We immediately bonded and began an on-again, off-again e-mail, snail mail and phone relationship where we shared things we likely shared with few others, if any. There’s something mysteriously private and safe in sharing things with another person at a distance. We spoke at times of getting up the courage for one of us to fly and meet the other. When I got to the point where travel was no longer an issue for me, I never seemed to have the funds to fly back to meet her. Even if I had, I don’t know if she would have been comfortable with that. But it really didn’t matter. We had what we did and it was beautiful.
And now she’s gone. I didn’t even know she was sick. We hadn’t spoken in about 6 months. Our relationship was like that. Sometimes we would go for a few months without communicating until one of us would reach out and say “hey” and we were back at it again, sharing private thoughts much in the way you do in a journal, poking fun of the foibles of ourselves and other humans (well, mostly other humans) and dreaming up landscapes of what we would do when one of us won the lottery.
Now there’s this huge empty space in my life and in my heart. You see, I have never lost someone like this. I’ve known people who have died of course. Grandparents and the like. You kinda expect them to die. And I’ve lost a few people who are close to my age, acquaintances and even a family member or two. However, I have never lost a FRIEND. I have never lost a good friend. And this one is hitting me hard. H A R D. Who will I talk to now? Who will understand me when I speak of what it’s like to deal with panic? Who will get me when I say these words: “7-Up at the bookstore”? Who will fill my e-mails with crazy but brilliant ideas on how to use my creative outlets to make an income? Who will let me ramble on for pages in an e-mail about my gripes and bitching and whines and desires and deepest secrets? In short – who will let ME be ME?
I could probably find another penpal. But I don’t want to. I want HER to be that one significant special friend in my life. But I don’t have that option now because fucking cancer fucking took her life. That beastly ugly dark disease that was likely created in some fucking lab somewhere. But I digress…
So I am grieving. I feel empty inside. I feel the loss of her presence on this planet. I don’t feel as safe. I feel I am standing on shaky ground. I feel I have lost a kindred spirit. I feel like a chunk of me has been removed and I don’t know how to get “it” back. I feel, well, alone.
I have been crying off and on since last Friday. Two people who I am weeping over. Today I burst into tears at the dinner table. Just happened. Couldn’t stop it – and I didn’t. Who was I crying over? I didn’t know. I was crying because I am just sad. Just so fucking god damn sad.
Death sucks. Grief is even harder. That’s just how it is.
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