Welcome to Year 2! I’m still here and my head reminds me daily that you are not coming back and shouldn’t. You left with your dignity intact- a gift for you and for all of us who love you.
All well and good, but my heart still grieves.
Heart and Mind- not working together as a whole.
Yesterday, with support from family and friends, we came together to unveil your stone. My brother Jeff was wonderful as he spoke about how you the doctor, kept us all cared for, loved. We shared a meal at Bone Fish, our Bone Fish. We left together, closer for comfort of our loss of you.
Before I left for the cemetery I found my friend Kevin’s post that he wrote and sent me as you were leaving.
So perfect to bring it back up and linger with it
Here it is:
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),
Frozen moments taken and saved on all my mobile devices, documenting our life of love. I held my phone close this year and often clicked it open to move through the world with you. My eyes rested on you throughout our 20 years. As the year moved forward, as much as tried to ignore time, it got easier to be with our moments. The photos I took of you in your last months reflected your pain and decline. Signaling that the end was near even if
As the year progressed I found myself looking at me- how happy I was, how good I looked, because you took the pictures of me without you and I was always looking at you. We ere reflections for each other… What romance. Just what I’d always dreamed about.
Last night, after that heavy morning, so good that I could end it in celebration- Michael’s 65 at LaFontana, the restaurant I’ve spent time sharing meals with Jane and Michael and other friends, getting anchored in Nyack again.
There’s a gift on it’s way to Michael from both of us. Yes, you would approve. I’ll let you know if he likes it.
What a gobligook of a letter, but understand, that’s where I am now at the start of journey into year 2.
Miss you my T,