Thursday, September 4, 2014

Life, Death and All That Falls Between

This isn't the usual Throwback Thursday photo. The only reason I'm posting it today is because tomorrow, I'll be helping a friend most of the day and won't be anywhere near the computer. I wanted to put this photo up, from her sophomore year in high school, as a tribute to my friend Candis since tomorrow is the one year anniversary of her death. The world still doesn't seem right without her. She was always a force of nature, filling the world with beauty, love, compassion and a smile that brightened any room and lifted your spirits on the darkest day. I don't feel that I handled her death well. I know that sounds such a ridiculous statement, how do you handle any death especially of someone you care about, well? It was the process of dying that I couldn't get a handle on. I felt so helpless, so hopeless in the face of her illness and pain. I've always been a fixer and I wanted to fix this for her. I wanted to help in some way but there was nothing to do, no help to be had. I was left without words or else would end up saying something totally useless and often inappropriate when I tried to comfort her or even cope myself. I will forever regret my ignorance during that trying time but I did learn a valuable lesson and I will pass it on in case someone else is facing a situation where there is nothing left to say or do, say nothing but, "I love you." Do nothing but hold them gently close for as long as you can. It is true that sometimes, you say the most when you say nothing at all and sometimes there is nothing left to say anyway but, I love you. I still miss you my friend. I still reach for the phone wanting to call just to hear your voice again, to laugh again with you. You brought so much to the world in your too short time here and you left us all with such wonderful memories and those sweet grand babies who will be forever formed by your enduring love for them. Love you always, Candis Snow Nicely, you are my bff and one day I know we will sit together again and share the laughter and joy only chosen sisters can.

After I posted this photo and text on Facebook, I received many kind notes from my friends. My friend, Allysa Gray wrote, "You've probably read this before 
I wrote it and I have read it a thousand times. I didn't know Frank long but he was just that sort of friend with the impact that a day was a lifetime. I've never met you but I hold you in that category too. I hope this helps you cope in the lonely wee hours {{{   }}}"


I sit beside him
just sitting
There are no words
he cannot speak them I cannot think them
“Write them for me” …. softly his wife pleads
From what I’ve gleaned he’s a man of worth
Good mate great partner
Creative expressive jovial fun
He will be missed
But will I truly miss him?
I look at myself as this dictates I must
He liked me dopey as I am but do I?
and I wonder what I can improve upon
What is that?
When I didn’t know I didn’t think
of him, so wrapped up in myself
Does friendship bound us like a duty
to think of them even when we have so much else to?
I always thought it was a feeling
To know that even when I hate myself most
that someone else
- not duty bound by love or use -
So now as he dies
- Convicted victim by his own hand to mouth disease
He must hate himself most
But I don’t
I will miss him
~ adgray © 2007
Allysa's words are so very insightful, honest and heart touching. A friend recently said to me that it seemed I knew him and he knew me better than those people he actually sees in person every day. We have met in person before and like old friends we were chattering at the same time and yet understanding each other but the true understanding seems to come from the written word. Those are words that aren't concerned with how we appear to the reader, words that take the time to find their truth and meaning and yes, words that reveal so much more of who we really are beneath the superficial surface. I think it was the honesty of the moment that scared me most with Candis. In the face of inevitable death, all pretense in swept away and our truths laid bare. The problem was, I fought against that. Like that famous movie like, I couldn't handle the truth. I ended up stumbling over my own words with awkward attempts to lighten the moment because I myself could not bear the weight of the truth. The same friend who spoke of how well we know each other gave me the best advice even though I didn't understand it completely at the time. He said, once you push aside all of the fear and insecurity and become your authentic self, then you'll know what to say. I don't think I really reached that point in time. As your beautiful poem says, I was too wrapped up in myself.

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