Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Not Sure What To Say...

Rarely in my time as a paid writer and sometime-editor was I at a loss for words. With the death of my friend of whom I've written in several posts, earlier in the month, I'm finding it difficult to speak or write about a growing knot of complicated feelings. While some of these have to do with her specifically, the majority appear related to past losses, and particularly with the issue of repeated losses in a relatively short span of time.

Though my outer life may look calm to those who do not know me well, inwardly I roll from tears of sadness to anger to numbness and back again. My understanding of this cycle is that it is normal for those grieving a loss. Further, one loss can open a veritable Pandora's Box of emotions concerning past losses, whether they involve people, pets, unresolved situations or relationships. Add to this that most folks are ill-equipped to provide effective support and offer only the barest kindness or suitable verbiage to a griever and the whole thing soon becomes about how quickly one can escape to silence and the comfort of a cup of tea, a distracting book or their bed.

If I hear another well-intentioned, "Be strong," "You only get as much as you can handle," or "Your friend is in a better place," I may hurl the offending party or myself out of the nearest window, and make no mistake, though my legs are shot, I can easily benchpress over one hundred pounds, though such a sight would hardly be pretty and might attract very unkind attention.

Having no wish to be overly intrusive to my friend's family, there are also few mutual friends to whom I can turn at the moment. A lunch has been planned so that those of us in my area can meet. I have agreed to attend, more to memorialize her than to peer into a sea of unfamiliar faces, most of whom I've possibly only heard of in passing. For an introvert, such an undertaking requires thought, preparation and a steeling of reserves. I'm not sure who is co-ordinating this or who will show but it should be interesting. I'll be in the company of a total stranger who generously plans to pick me up and who asked at the end of our too-brief conversation whether I was up for the adventure.

Somehow, my formerly oft-uttered comeback of, "It isn't cancer and won't kill me," adopted following the passing of four of my family members from cancer, seems grossly inappropriate. Beyond this post and the paper pages of a bound journal, I'm keeping responses to a minimum. Dark-humored, especially in times of stress, I find that my reserves are now fumes and have no clue how to re-build them.

For those who will celebrate time with friends and family this Thursday, my best wishes. I'll be with two happily married gentlemen and various of their kith and kin.

Until Next Time...

Monday, November 13, 2017


It has been about four weeks since my last posting. In that time, repairs have been made to the rooftop of my building that involved temporarily removing and then putting back into place the air conditioning compressors for my above-stairs neighbor and myself after some repairs designed to stop leaks.

The weather was cooler which meant that neither unit was running nor did the apartments involved become too hot. Happily, this is the time of year, one can generally leave the air off for extended periods despite the fact that it has been a bit warmer than normal.
Alas, until it rains, we won't know if the leak issue has completely resolved. On the plus-side, however, we are but two weeks shy of the end of hurricane season and all I can say to that is, oh happy day. I am usually not as gleeful about December and the ensuing holiday mania, but the end of hurricane season this year brings some sadness as well as a sigh or two of relief. Thanks to those of you who have e-mailed in my absence here. Your concern and good wishes are appreciated.

Life continues to strip away, hence the title of this post. The friend of whom I've written recently and to whom I sent Spring and Summer blooms, has peacefully passed away. In her mid-sixties, she was someone I met in graduate school and with whom I maintained contact until her pain made that impossible just weeks ago.

A writer, editor, librarian and translator with a natural bent for languages, she could be both profound and maddening, was usually broke but kept her wry sense of humor and wit at all times, even in the face of escalating and unrelenting cancer pain. Her happiest moments were often in the outdoors or on a beach somewhere or singing as she strummed her guitar. In the decade or so since we met, she moved four or five times across States and we communicated largely by phone or e-mail. This was, apparently, nothing new to her. I often wondered whether her intensely creative mind simply craved the stimulation of new places and faces. It has taken days for me to wrap my mind around her loss. I will miss hearing her laugh. Wherever she found herself, her joie de vivre was always evident. The world is diminished by her departure. Much love to you too, my friend...

Until Next Time...