My dear friend passed away on June 30, 2023. And I am angry. (The previous sentence should have ended with many exclamation points (!!!!!!!).) But I am trying not to scream. I am trying not to scream. But… I AM screaming. In my soul I am standing on top of a fiercely naked mountain hurling screams of iridescent profanity laden with equally luminous shards, not toward the sky or heavens, but to a humanity that would allow the possibilities of this death and its afterlife. Screaming. I am wrying from the realness of pain masked as apparitions; the muted violence of the torn asunder and discarded, like forty-year-old trash found at the bottom of a well-worn MonteBlanc tote that had out lived its usefulness and prestige. I am in a unique type of morning, one that maybe more common than my life has led me to realize; one that is in response to the main entrées served up on the plates of affluence and class, the course of the rightfully forgotten. And what or who are the rightfully forgotten? Who would they be?
If my friend is any indication, the rightfully forgotten are mostly women. Older women. Women who lost track of time and timing. Or, had never acquired its rhythm in the first or second place. Women who learned the hard and difficult truth about value in the midst of misogynistic capitalism. My friend was among women who vowed (to themselves and maybe the universe) to learn the deeply coded symbols of societal value and fight for their own value at every turn: Hair – impeccably blond straight and full, body – quintessentially prepubescent boy thin (like those celebrated on legacy fashion and glamour magazines), brains – just enough but not too much, plastic surgery – the requisite amount not more, race – nondescript white (but…), philosophy – wealth. The application of my friend’s mask for and against the world had been well rehearsed and hone over childhood and young adult years that included an debilitating illness of which she rarely if ever spoke and a suicide, which was equally rare in its retelling, that still in her seventies made her bottom lip uncontrollably quiver. She was among women who loved too deeply, so made themselves not-so-easy to love, but held exquisite decorative presence.
And then … Age and aging in an unraveling world driven by maniacal contagion threatened the hard and soft borders she had carved around her life and she dared to longed for compassion, safety, truth and, if possible, if at all possible, love.
I met my friend in what would be the last chapter of her life. And, so I hold a particular perspective of her that doesn’t include the sharp, no- nonsense, go-getter woman she described as herself. My perspective starts with a stranger with flowers and chocolate chip cookies welcoming me and my partner to our new home. In the unfolding months and years, the three of us celebrated numerous holidays together and made up a few holidays of our own so we could BE together. We engaged in hard conversations, experienced delicious food (She and I delighted in each others culinary savvy.), felt deep sense of belonging, and stirred up relentless laughter. My friend was hilarious with her exquisite comic timing.
If I make the story sound nice, I would say that in the end she got what she was searching for, which is likely true. However, from what I understand, she got a lot more than what she was seeking. And, the difference between what she was seeking and the more she received made ALL the difference between the continuation, the end, and vanishing of a life.
May my dear friend’s soul and heart rest in peace.