There is no way to gently ease into a sentence like this so I will merely plunge in and say that early Wednesday morning last week, I heard the news that a dear, old friend had suddenly, unexpectedly, died. Â No warning; no cause of death found; simply the fact of it. Â Her heart — enormous, thrumming with vitality — simply stopped. Since then things have been quite out of balance.
There is much to the story of how she recently resurfaced in my life. Â Mostly it’s the story of her relationship to an even dearer, just as old friend. Â At some point I might be able to tell some of that, hopefully — as ever — as a means to gather and spread whatever Â insights might be found quietly resting between the lines. Others may see what I can’t. And if some haven’t yet really, really seen how precious and conditional our days are, I would hope this story might bring that truth another heartbeat closer.
Meanwhile, I am amazed at what everyday events look like. Â It’s as if I’m peering through the arse end of a pair of binoculars. Â Rather than things far away appearing close-up, things close-up seem far away. Â News of the day comes to me through this warbley lens, and so many of the hairs I’ve been obsessively splitting as of late can only be made out as a clump. Â I can’t see the trees for the forest.
This is the fifth devastating death in the life of someone either close or downright dear or even utterly vital to me. Â (I’m talking here: sudden death or tragic; happened in the prime of life, or even before the prime was reached.) Â It is essentially impossible, as a consequence, not to look at my own life differently. Â Which is what was behind my Star light, star bright Â postÂ last week.
I should say that while so many events, the broader national issues, the international crises are all wavering strangely in my vision — as if seen through heat waves radiating up off a hot hot summer pavement — some things are razor sharp. Â I see clearly how beautifulÂ my belovedÂ is. How insignificant most every conflict is, between me and her. Â We are now just over a week later, and still I haven’t once become caught on any of the old, meaningless snags, mesmerizing us with the ephemeral. I will do everything in my power to see to it that this continues to last. I see how bracingly graced I am, to continue to be here. What a blessing it is that I have this moment — any moment — with my children. I see the curl of my son’s hair after a bath, and the flicker of the late summer light on his pink fairy wings as he dances.