Sweetness Follows


A sweet friend died yesterday. That’s him, in the picture, and me, back about 1999. Though I rarely to never post pictures of myself here, I wanted to post this one. His death was not unexpected, he had been sick for many weeks after a heart attack at the end of last year, and his physical shell wasn’t able to overcome the numerous challenges that life threw at him, and finally gave in after a valiant fight. Not the first friend I’ve lost, and certainly not the last. But I had thought there was a chance he was recovering, just a few days ago when I saw some pictures from his hospital bed when he was smiling. He was often smiling. Scrolling through my Facebook feed in the checkout line at the grocery yesterday, the news hit me like a punch in the gut. Distracted driving indeed, as I almost forgot to swing around and pick up my groceries from the curbside attendant, and was crying.

It was a bizarre and difficult night. I had an unrelated health problem – wheezing that has lingered since my 9-mile run last Sunday (thank you, exercise-induced asthma), which was worsened by two hours of indoor exercise Thursday night, and so last night I gave in and went to urgent care. I was crying as they took me to x-ray and the tech asked if I was ok. “It’s not related to me being sick,” I told her. “I just got word a friend has died.” She took my hand and squeezed it and said she was sorry – a sweet, innocent gesture from a complete stranger that was so sincere, it touched me, and made it hard to stand still for the pictures. Breathing treatment and prednisone administered, I came home and asked for love from my online/in-person friends in the way of music. Post me a rock song in honor of my rock and roll friend who has died, a legend who left the earth and touched many through his life in music and song.

My timeline became a flood of wonder, beauty, energy, majesty, laughter and tears in the form of songs, many of which I knew, many others I did not know, which surrounded and enveloped me as if each friend were next to me, sitting with me and holding my hand, saying, “Listen to this one.” It was sad and incredible and part of a process I need when I get through things that are hard – to immerse myself fully in it, before I can move through. To feel the pain all the way, until I can bounce off the bottom, after hitting with a sickening cracking sound I didn’t think I could get up from, but their hands and music lifted me up until I could rise back up to my feet, unsteady though they may be, and continue on. For that, I am truly lucky.

I am still very sad today, but am more settled with the news. I’m trapped inside because of an unexpected blizzard outside, and I didn’t buy much at the store last night except wine and a little fresh produce, so it should be an interesting day trying to feed myself from the very spare pantry, but I will get creative. Maybe do something with those lentils in there, and there is rice, always rice, and I’m thawing out some andouille from the freezer.

I had exciting and fun Valentine’s Day plans with a girlfriend who is also date-less tonight, but the weather has deemed those plans unacceptable, and so I will hole up here alone, with my rice and lentils and sausage. Perhaps make it a little further in the commentary track on my LOTR box set, which I revisit from time to time, determined to make it through. I’m about halfway through the commentary on Two Towers, so this could easily take the rest of the day. I’ve also dug back into my medical book, which I like to read when I need to focus on something but don’t have the creative-brain focus for fictional reading. Last night I learned all about the joints of the body and how they work and why and where. Yes, I’m a weirdo.

And there’s always editing to be done. I’m slogging through edits to my NaNoWriMo novel from November 2013. If my cheap, shitty desk chair wasn’t so uncomfortable, I could probably do a lot more of that, but I can only stand to sit here for so long, until I am up again, pacing around and digging through stuff in this cracker box, restless without company, or a place to go, or without Little Boy Bones yelling at me that he needs something. I want to work out, but am too sore still. The wheezing seems to be gone but my lungs kind of hurt, and I know I should rest, which is very difficult for me to make myself do. But the earth has other ideas, and I am trying to comply.


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