Tuvia passed on August 26th (officially) and I’m taking up my practice of honoring someone I love with daily letters. It’s very therapeutic. I’m reposting this one because Meandering Mind, Kevin wrote a post to me that resonates. I have been blessed with the love of a wonderful man and with devoted and compassionate family and friends- both actual and virtual. Kevin makes that point powerfully in his post below.
Thanks my friends for your compassion!
I’d say that hands down this has been the longest, most agonizing week of my life. You were sitting across from me last Friday morning enjoying the cool breeze of late summer, reading the NY Times, pushing me to eat something for lunch, listening to Ami’s clicking computer keys and then everything exploded when you went into cardiac arrest.
We held our breaths for the next few days, hoping that Valley’s cardiac medical team could return you to us, just the way I remembered you last, sitting across from me in the kitchen. But by Tuesday, it grew clearer that you weren’t coming back. Turning off the machines, pulling out the tubes, returned you to a more dignified version of yourself even if we had to accept the fact that you were gone on Wednesday.
After a day of funeral, burial, friends and family back home honoring you, we were coming to the end of the week.
Another breezy Friday morning.I’m entering September without you T and I just can’t seem to enjoy this one the way I enjoyed our last morning cool together.
I think it will a long time before I will enjoy a breezy morning without you but my brother Rick flew in from Israel to spend time with me bringing along Leigh, we ate together at the Daily Treat in Ridgewood and strolled on streets that we had walked often over our 20 years.
Today, before Ami leaves to finally join his family in Israel he will stop by with Leora and Shimon to spend a few hours here. Sunday afternoon and evening the house will be buzzing with people who love us.
The only one missing will be you.
I just want to share a piece that my friend wrote about us before I say goodnight.
Knowing Someone from Afar
It’s an interesting twist of the digital age — many of us are more connected with more people than ever before, but many of those connections are fragile, held together by words and media and posts and comments. A string of ideas becomes the centerpiece of connections, and our notions of whom we call a “friend” becomes a bit convoluted as a result, doesn’t it?
This morning, I was met with a headline that 1 billion people used Facebook yesterday. People connect. But how deep are the connections? A piece on Medium yesterday took an interesting stance on how people represent themselves in online spaces. We put our best foot forward, the author surmises.
I have been thinking of this concept of identity and connections and friendship the past few days as a very good friend, one I know beyond the wires of social media spaces and one whom I have worked with closely for many years on a variety of projects through the National Writing Project, has been in a difficult transition period, of losing her loved one and cherished life partner.
She has been powerfully articulate on her blog in capturing their lives together, documenting and archiving the love of the years. Many people, myself included, have been leaving her comments of support. No doubt the writing has been an avenue for her in dealing with loss, which moved in slow motion over the past few weeks.
This is what writers do. We write, in good times and in times of struggle. We write to understand the world.
And in her writing of the moments, she has brought us into her world with compassion and voice, and she has made us feel connected to her experiences in a very personal way.
The pieces she has been sharing also had me thinking is how much I feel as if I have known her partner, who just passed away, over the years from the many blog posts and videos and images and more that we have shared over time. I met her partner once in person, I think, and yet, his presence has been felt strongly over the years because my friend was always in the present with him. She represented her life as a partnership with him regularly, and I feel as if I knew him as well as her over the years of our friendship.
I realize there is a certain fallacy to this insight. I don’t really know the full person — who no doubt was much more complicated than I will ever know, as we all are to those outside our emotional circles — and I am sad now that I never will. I think I knew of the person who loved my friend, and I think I saw a powerful love and partnership between them that made her happy and content. His constant presence in that picture in my mind — of them on beaches, in Israel every year, in concerts, at the breakfast table, reading books and the newspaper, traveling into the city … my mind has many moments of them together — is formed mostly by our digital connections.
And here’s the thing: in her sharing of her life with me, a friend, over the years, he will remain an active presence in the world, even in passing. In that, I will miss him, too, even if our connections were echoes in a digital world of connections. In my mind, at least, his presence will always remain a part of her, and I am thankful for the friendship and partnership that she and I have, and I am sad for her loss.
Here, though, the digital connections fall short. I can’t drive down the street to comfort her and sit with her. I can’t make her coffee, and play guitar with her. I can only send words. Writing is the way I am trying to help her through it. It’s what writers do. We write. I write this, then, for her, and for me.
Peace (for my friend),