I found out yesterday that an old friend succumbed to her ongoing battle with cancer this week. I don't want to go into a lot of detail about her here in this forum. Most of what I remember and cherish is personal and private, to me and to her, and I don't want to exploit that.
And though I don't want to make this about me, this is really weirding me out more than a lot of deaths I've experienced. I've been very blessed not to have lost a lot of very close people. A number of older family members, usually after a long siege of sickness, usually cancer. I don't mean to diminish those experiences because every death is significant. But for most of these it felt as though their time had come and there was some relief that they weren't suffering any longer.
That was true for my friend as well. She has been fighting this battle for a few years now, and though I have seen pictures of her thin face and bald head from the chemo, I have't actually seen her in person since well before she was diagnosed. So, in my head she is still the vibrant, beautiful twenty-year old I met close to thirty years ago.
We were friends, we were lovers, we were never actually boyfriend and girlfriend. We were, as the current term says, complicated. We both moved on with our lives and stayed in touch through other relationships, and in her case, marriage. There were never any regrets or questions about what we had been, or of who we were to each other. She was my friend, first and foremost and I loved her dearly.
So yesterday I played a bunch of music I associate with her, and I cried and I smiled and I shook my head at some of the dumb, wonderful shit we did together and wished we had both been better at communicating more frequently.
So, here's to you, AJA. Thank you for making my life richer. I'll miss you, pal. I love you.