On friendship

Support, salvation, transformation, life: this is what women give to one another when they are true friends, soul friends, what the Irish call anam cara. It’s what the Wrinklies did for one another, what the French resistance fighters in Auschwitz did for one another, what women do for one another in real relationships with real consequences in real time, every day, what my friends do for me. We help one another other live and sometimes, we watch – and help – one another die. It happens in movies, sure, but it also happens every day, in real life – now, tomorrow, yesterday. It is transformative and transcendent. It is real. It is love.

Read the rest here. I simply cannot get enough of Emily Rapp’s beautiful and profound writing, and my next venture is to seek out her book about growing up with a disability; the depth of sorrow, the subject matter which seems so removed from my reality, and yet, all the same, it speaks to something we all experience, inevitably, in one form or another. There is a quote from her blog, somewhere in her writing, that sometimes people will say to her “I can’t imagine,” to which she replies “yes you can. You just don’t want to.” And there’s nothing more real and true than that.

I have found  it to be somewhat of a comfort this year, or some solace, or something… so I’m grateful to have found it this summer following the loss of a good friend and also of an acquaintance, who seemed likely someone who also would eventually become a friend, as there was a touch of that kindred spirit thing going on. But that? That opportunity is gone now. He’s dead. They’re both dead. And while I don’t think death is the end, the utter cessation of everything, the snuffing out of life’s “brief candle,” these people are not in my life anymore, even if whatever essence we may be is elsewhere. They are not by the side of their families, and their loved ones, in a way that is concrete and conceivable, and this is not simple to digest and accept, in my experience and observations.

And also my kitty, because losing animals, who touch our lives in such different ways than our human friendships, can be incredibly painful too, even though somehow it seems easier to weave them into the web of Nature and Life, maybe a little bit more quickly for me than for a human companion, but it still feels like a stab in the heart with a fat, rusty knife. And I feel guilty, oh so goddamned guilty, because it was my job to take care of her, dammit, and to make sure nothing attacks or runs over her. And I feel guilty, because I failed to do that when I could have done otherwise. But I didn’t. I could have tried harder to get my kitty safe inside that night. I could have been less dismissive and lazy, and justifying it with “well, she’s been ok other times” (except for when she had not at all). Instead of being concerned with getting a good night’s sleep, I could have thought about the fact that she was hiding and not coming for dinner because she was mortally afraid; because there was a bobcat in the yard. And that is why my dogs wouldn’t settle down either. The same bobcat that almost killed her last fall, around the same time. But I didn’t note the signs, didn’t pay adequate attention to the little voice in my head that said “wait, just give it one more chance.” And as the saying goes, in nature, animals don’t get to make the same mistake twice. Humans, on the other hand, sometimes do. Sometimes over and over and over again. And we suffer often different consequences.

Yes, well, I realize I have been writing and sharing a lot of heavy posts recently, covering some hard, maybe even downright discouraging or depressing, and nobody-wants-to-talk-about-this-shit-all-the-time-you-know-Ms-Debbie-Downer level of subject matter. And though I think for very good reason, I still feel self-conscious and guilty and somehow ashamed of it, like I should lighten up and enjoy the sunshine (which, by the way, is actually showing itself today, so after this, I will, in truth, go do just that because I am quite solar powered) and live my life because hey, aren’t I fortunate to be healthy and alive, unlike some others I’m talking about here? Well, yes, but of course, and I am I really am. Still, there is a shitload of weight on  my shoulders these past months, and I don’t know how else to shake it, or at least find a way to accept it, than to write about it, and then some; because that’s what has always been in my heart to do, as if it is a thing, a something, which I must get out of me lest it become a stack of bricks resting on my chest if I don’t splatter it all across the pages of a notebook or the internet.

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