Wednesday, February 09, 2011
But I must say I feel like I should tell you about how great they were.
Did you know JB? He's a fellow melanoma survivor that passed away on February 3rd. One of the things that was awesome about JB was that he could make you see what he was seeing and (almost) feel what he was feeling. Here's a short example from one of his post this last summer:
"Today, I was given my discharge paperwork from the hospital. Discharge from the hospital is almost always an enjoyable time for me; it means that which brought me into the medical system has been addressed and that my doctors feel that I am ready to recover further, and better at home. It is generally the time for IV lines to be pulled out of veins and tape pulled off of itchy flesh; a moment for quick goodbyes to noisy beeping machines, frequent human grunts of pain, odors of cleaning products mixed with urine, as well as grateful nods to the medical staff that have looked after me for days."
He was just really good like that. There were a million good things about him: his wit, his honesty, the way he wrote about his cat, his infinite humor, the fact that he loved Margaret Cho, his political views, the way he wrote about his partner Jason, the photos he took of food from his garden, his views on science, his sincerity.... I could go on and on and on. He was just an awesome person, and I felt lucky for knowing him every time we communicated.
It's strange to me that write this at a stage in my life where I no longer associate death with guilt. It's quite liberating; and for that, I have to thank Linda.
I guess the guilt all started with my Dad, who I felt hadn't communicated with me during his illness. And then I had hesitated to see him when I knew I shouldn't have been hesitating. And then there was more drama than any trailer park family should ever have at the funeral. THE FUNERAL. Are you kidding me. And blah blah blah, 5 years later and every time someone passed away, I was feeling guilt. It was like it was the only way to experience it.
Then Linda got sick, and told me before she got near the end that, no matter what happened through her illness, she knew I wanted to be with her. And she asked to be buried in the hat I made her. It was like she cleared up all my death-guilt issues right then. An extraordinary lady indeed.
When I got up on the morning of the 3rd, I read this quote on Facebook:
"Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend- or a meaningful day." - His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I know that's true, but it's just difficult to change sometimes, especially with such good friends. I don't want them to be gone.
I don't want to think about the fact that they were here one day, and the next they were not. Part of the process, I guess. And I must admit in spite of that, I do feel blessed. The ephemeral nature of life, and friends, makes them all the more valuable.