Posted: November 28, 2012 in me

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about humanity. And god. And what type of person I am. And what type of person I want to be. What I’m willing to do for self. What I can no longer tolerate. What I can. My self truths. My beliefs about others in general. And specifically.

Today, my friend died. She was in her mid 60s, recently retired, divorced, mother of 3, a good cook, a dedicated worker, a holder of faith, a nurturer, a fun person to get all mad or happy. She was also a recovering alcoholic. She was sober when I knew her, but I knew that about her. I’d cook for her sometimes & vice versa. She pretended to hate my food for months. But she loved it. Eventually she told me. I got flowers from a boy one time when I lived by her. I always kill those damn things, so I asked her to look after them. She did. She put them in a window I could always pass by, look up & see her showing me they were alive & she enjoyed them. She pretended to hate my cat. She’d sneak the cat nibbles of salmon croquettes. She’d give me a ride to the dollar store. I’d walk her mail up.

Today, my friend died. Alone. Drunk. her heart gave out. Home. Alone. So here’s where I always seem to get lost. Do I find comfort in knowing that we all die? Do I find comfort in knowing that she’ll be put in a box? Do I find comfort in knowing the rate and stages of decay? Do I get upset she drank? Do I get furious at alcoholism? Do I pray? Do I cry? Do I feel? Do I do nothing? Where do I turn? To a god that is supposed to be just? And forgiving? And protective? And comforting? Who do I talk to? I really only want to talk to her. But, why now? I wasn’t good at staying in touch when I moved back down here. I didn’t do all I could. Neither did her family. Neither did she. Where is the answer? Where is the comfort?

Today, my friend died. In a few days people will gather and cry and act sad and say safe and comforting things. Then what? A guy will surely get up there and have everyone pray and say the stuff we should’ve all been saying these last 6 months while she drank herself to death, home alone, until her heart gave out and somebody finally found her. Dead. There won’t be a scientist there to walk us through her breaking down to dust in the cold winter earth as a comfort. There won’t be a man of god that will say anything different that what we expect him to say and have heard a million times.

Today, my friend died. I’m not going to the service. I will not visit her grave. I know this about myself. Just like I didn’t maintain that connection the last 6 months. I won’t be angry. I won’t look for answers. Not from science. Not from the heavens. Not from my old roommates that knew her too. I’ll stop being a shitty friend. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll find a way to stay on my path without keeping up my aloof detachment of late. I’ll call somebody I miss. I’ll send a letter. I’ll remember the night we rushed her house & danced to Aretha Franklin & James Brown. I’ll remember the night I made a whole spread and how much she loved my pumpkin cornbread & a bunch of us ate at her dining room table like we were fancy. I’ll remember her pineapple upside down cake. I’ll remember her garden. How she welcomed me. I’ll remember those flowers in the window.

Today, my friend died. Nothing will change that. Nothing. But I can change. And that will be the thing I’ll remind myself of. And I’ll never ever feel better about it. When people die, it’s sad. That’s universal.

My friend died today. And my biggest question is if I am entitled to use that word.

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