Hi. I know you are no longer here with us (unless you are hanging around waiting for the perfect moment to jump out and say, Boo!) but I had to write you this letter. I was up for hours last night composing it in my head. Remembering all the details of our 15 year friendship was like watching a mind-film, it came easy. There is so much I want to say to you, all of it equally important to me, all of it stuff I wish I would have said before you died.
I think I will start with your death. Why? Well, I guess I know why. You had a chemical dependency to the prescription medications you were taking. You went too far. You took too many. I hope there was no other reasons that drove you to overdose. I hope that I didn’t make you sad. I hope that you can forgive me for putting so much distance between us after Max’s birth, after we last spoke (fought), and for not telling you when I became pregnant again, for not inviting you to the birth of my daughter. I hope that if you knew all along (because you were secretly following my blogs) that you can let go of the hate you must have felt towards me.
I guess it is a little too late, now, to explain why I put so much distance between us. I know explaining it is more about me healing and forgiving myself than anything else. I think I’ll save those words for later.
You admitted it to me – once – that you knew you were a “drug addict.” We talked about it quite frankly, even discussed NA meetings in your area. You made a slight effort to get involved with NA. It never happened, though. Their answering machine asked for your name and number and you hung up, never to call back. Forgive me for not setting up an intervention to save you from yourself. I wish I would have.
I had a dream about you the other night. We were attending Hal’s cousin’s wedding that was being held in a theater. We sat next to one another and complained/laughed at how cramped we were (not enough leg room). When we got up to leave we had to walk through a weird path that took us onto the stage. Somehow we got separated and I couldn’t find you again. That morning when I awoke, the dream still fresh in my mind, I cried. Hal was there for me. He held me tight in his arms, speechless over my suffering.
I remember your dreams. Your dream to be an actress. Not just any actress, a FAMOUS actress. I remember the play you were in. This was when you were dating Ricky, the guy who physically and mentally abused you for four years. It was a miracle that he “let” you do the play – you had to fight to make it happen.
I was so happy when you two broke up. Knowing what I know now, I probably could have been a better friend to you during those years. I didn’t understand abuse or why a woman would stay in an abusive relationship so I was probably pretty harsh on you. We didn’t speak much those four years (during our early twenties). He isolated you from your friends and family. You isolated yourself. However, when you two broke up, we reconnected like there was never a separation in our friendship. That was the second time we came back together after a period of estrangement.
The first time we took a break from one another we mutually agreed we needed time apart. I was 17 or 18 years old. I remember being so frustrated with you because I felt suffocated by your love and need for our friendship. It felt like I was breaking up with you. You were equally frustrated with me because I wasn’t being the kind of friend you needed me to be. You also wanted space from me. I remember having “the talk” with you as we were walking from the gym at MCC to our next class together. I remember when the conversation ended we walked our separate ways. I think that break from one another lasted a couple years. When we became friends again, you introduced me to my future husband. Though, at the time, he was the dude you wanted to hook up with. Lucky for me he wasn’t the aggressive type, didn’t move “fast enough” for your liking. Lucky for me, another guy came along and caught your eye. I remember, and I know you do too because we often would laugh about it years later, you telling me, “you can have Hal, Michelle, I’ll let you.” And to that I say, thank you.
There are so many things I could write about. So many things spread out in my memory right now. Topless time, Ricky (movie theater manager), Chicago (and how cynical I was while narrating your video footage), looooong conversations over the phone throughout our entire friendship, crying in my shower the first time you overdosed, fishing, public telephones (I’ll leave it at that, but you know what I’m talking about!), Cypress Cove, the back massager (I won’t say anymore on that one, either), all your secrets, the book you made me, the poems you have written me, the awe you frequently expressed over how many times I have changed throughout our friendship… and so much more. I have a lock box in my heart filled with thoughts of you, of us.
Now that I am a mother, I so wish I had been there for you when you became a mom. I wish I could have brought you home made dishes the way my friends did for me. Hal and I were living in Chicago when Darren was born. I still have the Polaroid you took for me of your mama-belly.
I was disconnected from you as a mother. You never talked to me about being a mom or talked about your son. We would spend hours on the phone, yet, I knew nothing of your life as a mom. I remember you telling me that that was why you loved talking to me so much, because I allowed you to talk about yourself, your life – separate from your child. Everyone else seemed to only care about your son (your perception) and never asked how YOU were doing.
I’m glad I was there for you during those times the way you needed me to be. I’m happy to know that I was a good friend to you for some fraction of the time we knew one another. I just wish I knew more about what mothering was like for you. I’m so sad that I won’t have an opportunity to tell you about Bella’s birth. That I will never see you healthy again -like you were when we first met. I’m sad that I will never know the woman you could have been. I’m sad that your son will never know that woman.
It is so hard to not believe in heaven, hell, God, or an afterlife when you loose someone you love so dearly. I want to believe so many beautiful things but you know how I am, Mrs. Cynical – the one who is comfortable with “not knowing.”
At your funeral I spoke with your Uncle Bill. Oh, that uncle of yours. He told me that you were standing in the church service looking at all of the people who came to honor you. He said you were happy and that you were with your first true love, Darren, and an unidentified person. I wanted so badly to believe him. I let myself believe him, even though as I was looking into his eyes I wondered if he was crazy. I want to believe you are no longer suffering. I want to believe that when we die we are released from our bodies and our spirit goes down what-ever path it is meant to take. I want so badly to believe that you overdosing the day after my daughter was born is just a coincidence. I want to believe that we are all spirits and not just this clump of flesh and bones – the bone-dust I watched the priest pour into the ground and your family throw dirt on. I want to believe that I will see you again and we will give each other the biggest hug ever.
I love you. I will never forget you. I have more to write but this is it for now.
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