Peace, Love and Better

September 25, 2012 at 11:27 am 4 comments

Seven years ago today one of my best friends Em (right), and her girlfriend Emily (left), also a good friend, passed away in a car accident in Oregon. They were beautiful people and everyone who knew them is still profoundly affected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five years ago we gathered at Em’s Aunt’s house in New York and after the bittersweet weekend I wrote this:

Better 2007

How do we navigate the loss of one of our own? Of a kindred friend, a lover that never was? We are forced to question our own lives, death, mortality, endurance of soul. Always studying, we don’t learn the answers until it’s all over, until the time when answers don’t matter anymore. Soon, in a few years, it will be longer that Em has been gone than when I knew her in life. When do we become ghosts? When does an entire chunk of time become fleeting, passing over our eyes like baby blue tule, or something. dream spaces.

It’s like when a building you lived in is torn down and you go back to visit but this time you can see the view from the parking lot. All your years of memories in that building, so many blood, sweat and tears in there!, now exist twenty, thirty feet in the empty air, where once stood walls and floor joists, supported by footers, somewhere something was anchored into concrete, which was reinforced with steel. You kick your feet around in the dirt, littered with foundation crumbles, and stare at the mountains, which never move. If time doesn’t exist, how do we keep convincing ourselvs that space exists, and that it’s important? Or, perhaps, why do we keep doing it, and how do we keep getting away with it?

I see her father. Hunched shoulders, downward cast eyes, shaking his head, holding a Budweiser. In his crows feet you can see a life line of pain and joy, decisions made, actions taken, consequences suffered, for both good and bad. Regrets, happiness, love, lost, struggle, hard work. The light in your life, enduring, refreshing, inspiring….gone in a second, wiped out by a Ford. How do you navigate the loss of someone else’s daughters?

She always knew she was going to die early. At the party on Saturday, I was in Bruce and Nina’s dining room, sending a text to a friend, and I had a really intense deja vu. I faintly remembered some dream I had had years ago, where I basically dreamt about this party, that we were all gathered at her family’s house and that it was because she had died. I don’t remember much of a response from her when I told her. She knew she was going to die young, but she didn’t tell us that too often. She didn’t want to freak us out. So she rocked her life and had the deepest laugh wrinkles I’ve ever yet seen among someone so young. She talked to the ghosts in her house; they showed themselves to her. She gave her heart to everyone she ever met because she knew she didn’t have much time to give it all away. Might as well give away everything you’ve before you die, or else the government gets it all. They didn’t get much from her, I tell you, except for some votes. Who pays off credit card debt when you die?

As I said to a coworker this morning, the weekend was simultaneously wonderful but intense and very sad. She replied, “So there was a lot of humanity.”

Yes. Overwhelmingly so.

My friends, we all mourned and grieved together, but this is an individual battle, and sometimes it needs to be released. But who am I crying for? Am I crying for Em and Emily, for two lives cut so short? Perhaps it’s for Jeffrey and Deb, who have to reconcile their lives and count their losses every day? Or for Helen and George, who wear their pain on their shirtsleeves, where Em and Emily wore their hearts. Or am I sad for the parents of the kid who killed them, who have to go visit their 20 year old son in jail for the next few months because he killed two girls from New England one Sunday two years ago. Or maybe I am crying for the humanity of it all–for the grief of all mothers and fathers who have lost their children unfairly–for the pain and struggle everyone goes through to acheive their salvation, whatever it is. But maybe I’m just crying for myself, because I can: because it will make me better.

Until next time…Peace, Love, and Better.

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Welcome to the family, Susan If Your Legs Hurt, You’re Doing It Wrong

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jane Fritz  |  September 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Beautifully and lovingly expressed. Such a heartbreaking loss. It’s impossible to reconcile these events, but your reflections will resonate with everyone who reads your post. Give yourself a hug, Steph.

    Reply
    • 2. Steph  |  September 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you Jane.

      Reply
  • 3. grackleandsun  |  September 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Beautiful. Peace to you, too.

    Reply
    • 4. Steph  |  September 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you.

      Reply

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