It has been a long time since I have visited my blog and even longer since there has been a new update. But something happened last week that moved my fingers out of my pockets and onto the keyboard. A friend died. When I was asked to write the obituary in my head I screamed "NOOO." I thought "I can't" the caller sensed my hesitation but didn't ask for an explanation instead she pushed forward suggesting people that could help. We share a deep unsettling grief at the loss of this friend. Instead of saying no I weakly told her that I knew the essence of our friend but I did not know the history complete with dates and a chronological timeline. Her reply was simple "it is the essence that matters." I was terrified and for the next several hours I was numb unable to even come up with one word that could open the floodgate to a completed tribute of this man, my friend.
I haven't been able to write, really write since June 29th, 2013. On that day everything changed in a heart beat or in this case when a heart stopped beating. This was the day my Mom died. It is still strange to say those words. She died, that was 16 months ago. She was an amazing woman. Crazy, fun, filled with life and light. She was my Mom and my best friend. We, her family and friends, orbited around her, she being the bright star. In the days leading up to my Mom's funeral I wrote my part of the eulogy and assisted with her obituary. Tasks that were shared with my Dad and my sisters. I was not alone and I am not alone.
I have gotten up every day. I have moved through life doing the things I need to do. I have gone to work, read books, attended meetings, chaired committees, sent out obligatory notes, made phone calls, returned phone calls, laughed, cried, received hugs, given hugs, traveled often between my two loves, Dillon, Montana and Augusta, Montana. I have rejoiced at the births of new babies and cried at funerals. I have written face book updates and I have jotted one liners in a gratitude journal on a semi-regular basis. I have written letters of recommendation for people that I truly believed deserved the recognition.
But I have not written from the heart. I have not written a single poem or story. I have not worked on that elusive novel that lives somewhere inside of me. I have not written. I have kept journals since I was old enough to put two words together in order to form a sentence. I have notebooks filled with poetry (good and bad) I have short stories and outlines and ideas on paper that fill the shelves in my art studio. But nothing has been added since that day over a year ago. And now I feared I would never add anything more to those archives. You see this friend was my writing mentor, we shared our love of words, we shared each others rough drafts, acting as editors and sounding boards. He was the only one that knew I had not written anything of personal importance in a very long time.
I hear of and have read many tributes that people write during a period of mourning. I couldn't and I didn't. My husband's favorite Uncle passed away a few months ago. Bill and his many cousins lost their bright star. They lost the one man that was there for them when others were not. His cousin, a gifted artist, recently shared that she was having a hard time painting since the death of her father. She shared a painting that she is working on and stated the one way to honor her father is to continue to create art. Her talent is a gift that she and her Dad shared, the artist gene had been passed from father to daughter. To let that light dim is a disservice not only to his memory but also to her.
Things changed. On October 23, 2014 I lost another someone that meant so much to me and I was being given the honor of writing a tribute to him. I was afraid I would fail, afraid to let my grief guide me, afraid I would disappoint his family and friends. I was afraid. I don't believe in Hell but I do believe in an afterlife. I do believe that those that leave the earth remain with us. I let go. I let my grief envelop me. I cried and screamed and swore. I sat down and what I thought was a rough draft was a love letter. I had help. We put words on paper and it felt good.
There will be more blogs about books but for today it is about life. Life is a story, there is a beginning, there is a middle and there is an end. And somewhere amidst all of that we live, we laugh and when we are very lucky we love. We experience it all the joy and the tears. That is what makes us human.