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20 December, 2014


Sunday a childhood friend of mine passed away. This week has been tough. The weird part is I haven't cried yet. I've been holding it in. And all the grief counselors are nodding their heads. They know what's coming next. Colette and I drifted apart the last decade. Which is strange for two people who used to be so close. Busy lives, different priorities, different states of residence, or possibly a Tragic life event in her life. Now she's gone. Random thoughts about her popped into my head this week. Going to her house to play dolls. Going to her house for sleepovers. Her coming to my house for a sleepover. Running high school track together, though she was two years behind me in school. Going on double dates together for high school dances, me a senior, she a sophomore. Me driving to Murfreesboro to visit her at college, her going to my college. Going to fraternity parties in college together. Me so bored at one I wrote a short story. She was a character in it. So were alien invaders from outer space. Road trips to Atlanta in college, staying with my aunt and uncle who didn't mind a gaggle of college girls eating their food, making a mess, staying out until the crack of a dawn and then ringing the doorbell to be let in to sleep it off. Her meeting her one true love Dexter, who would tutor me in math in college. Road trip to Atlanta to shop for wedding dresses. Endless hours looking at dresses in Atlanta and back home. Bachelorette party at her house. Me, a bridesmaid in her wedding. Until a few year ago, the dress was still in my closet. I donated it to an organization that help girls have a prom dress. My daughter and I living with her and her husband Dexter in Atlanta for a few months as I tried to sort out finding a job. Random thoughts about the secrets we told each other. Sorrows we both shared that no one else knew about. Things she never told her family. Things I will still keep silent for her. She became a widow and life changed for her. She changed. Walls were put up. I resigned myself to seeing posts on Facebook, hoping one day we could reconnect. That she would let me back in. Her two sons kept her busy. That much I could follow online. They looked so much like Dexter. She was alone. Her chest hurt. She couldn't breathe. She called an ambulance. She went to the ER. She passed away. I received the news and I wanted it to be a horrible, sick practical joke. I wanted it to be. I needed it to be. We'd never had a chance to reconnect the way I wanted to. We would never have that chance. Then I thought about her sons-orphans now. Her brother, sole survivor of their family as their father passed when she was in college and their mother this last summer. That was too much grief for my heart and I had to distract myself. I focused on work. Five days. Now I'm allowing myself to feel. To fall apart. To weep. To yell. Today as she is laid to rest. Yesterday I sat down a made a list. It was all the things I said I would do, that I never did. Time is not promised to us. Tomorrow is not promised to us. What matters is what we make of today. Life is too short is the saying. My friend was still young, yet that youth did not keep her from dying. On my list are things like go experience the Grand Canyon. That trip to Paris I've dreamed about since high school and never did. Get back into my art (painting, clay). My writing. My writing. Prominent on my list and a reminder of where my focus should be. Life is too short to be miserable, stressed, unhappy. You(we), literally don't know how much time we have left. Why are you wasting it being miserable? Being stressed? Being unhappy? Refuse to be a lemming. If it is within your ability to do so, do so. If it is not,what is holding you back? I'm Working on a new screenplay. And it is about death. And it is taking me places I never would have written on the page. There is no fear. There is no hiding. It is all coming out on the page. Colette Is/was one of only two people outside of academia that I've let read my fiction writing. Heather is number two. I've never told her how dear her friendship is to me. How it's like the sun on a warm day that make you happy. How I can rely on her no matter the time of day or the circumstance. I will make sure she knows, because life is too short.

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