Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goodbye Old Friend

My best friend passed away Tuesday. She is one of the most amazing people I've ever known and I will always miss her. To know Darya was to love Darya. I don't know of anyone who felt anything negative toward her. She was just such an open, loving, caring person that everyone felt drawn to her. Even her nurses are going to her memorial.

She was diagnosed with cancer in August of '08 and I've spent every weekend I could since making sure I told her everything that I knew I'd want her to know (I called weekly and anyone who knows my phone aversion may now be shocked). Mostly how much I loved her, but also all the little things. About me and all the things I was hoping for and thinking about. About death and her joys and fears. About her family and how they would cope. We joked about her being so wonderful the gods wanted her back (I told her she wouldn't have gotten cancer if she'd been more of an asshole so the gods would have ignored her). We discussed the things she would learn if there is something after this life, and my envy of that. I'm not sure there was a topic we didn't cover in the last six months. Not that I've ever been shy about telling her anything and everything.

Apparently, I was the only person who was just talking to her like a friend. Most people, it seems, were scared of her dying. Not of her being ill, but of death itself. Death has never bothered me. She was unafraid of death. It's the most natural thing in the world. We're all going to die. I could die walking out my door tomorrow and being hit by a car. The only difference was that she had a more or less time frame for her demise. I think they were mad at her for leaving them, too. As though she chose cancer.

I feel lucky that I knew I had only so much time with her so that I had a chance to tell her how I felt about her and how much I'd miss her. I know I'll cherish all the time we did have together and I can't imagine that I will ever stop missing her. She's one of three people who know me and understand me and love me, that I never feel alien or awkward around, and who I feel real around.

Mourning is all about selfishness. I'll be alone now. I won't have Dar to talk to. I won't be able to do things with her... me me me. But that's not a bad thing. Mourning is important. You have to adjust to someone not being there anymore and learning that you can be okay without them. However, I don't cope well with people getting weepy about her death who never knew her. I think it's weird and invasive. They can't miss her, they didn't know her. I've been told that it reminds people that they will die, and their loved ones will die, and this makes them sad; some people over-empathize, and others just need the drama. If I squint just right, I can make sense out of the empathy.

I am pretty angry about the situation. Not at Darya. At her "friends". It seems to me that most of them expected her to take care of them forever. She was that sort of person; the one that people turn to for comfort and for help. But when it came down to it, those people didn't turn around and give back. I doubt she ever regretted giving, but I know for a fact she felt bad that people didn't give to her.

One of the things we talked about was that no one was willing to pitch in and help her when they thought she was just tired. Once she had Cancer, well that was something real. And scary. So they backed quietly away. I don't understand that at all. I think love means something very different to me than it does to most people. For everyone who said they loved her and cared about her, very few people came through for her when she needed them. Her family was there, despite their fears and grief.

Realizing now that the last year she was probably getting sicker and sicker, it is easy to understand why she was needing more and more help around the house and had so little energy. I tried to get to her house at least a couple times a month to help her catch up laundry and do little chores, cook her dinner... Just be with her and help her out. I didn't know she was sick, but it never matters to me. My people are my people and I will do anything I can to make their lives easier. I thought she was just worn out from raising two kids and having her husband on the road trying to keep food on the table. That seemed like plenty enough reason to me to help her out. Knowing what I do now, I am even more glad I took the time I did to help where I could. It never seemed like much - work took so much energy - but I know it made her happy.

But it is why I won't go to her memorial. I seriously doubt my ability to be polite to her "friends" who are so sad she is gone and wish they'd had more time with her. Where the hell were they the last six months, then? Where were they the six months before when she was getting sick? As far as I can see, they wanted her when they needed something but when she needed them, they had better things to do. But the death is too new for me to make a scene and make it harder on her family (who *were* there for her, so they deserve better).

So here is my memorial to Dar: You are the mother goddess incarnate. You are love and growth and understanding. You are springtime and early summer. You were my balance. You will be missed.

5 comments:

Jon A.S. said...

Hey Abi,

This is the best written memorial I have ever seen for someone who passed away, especially Darya. I think she deserved it, so keep up the good work....

Jonas

Abifae said...

Thank you :)

Laurie said...

Abi,
Beautifully written. I wish I could give you a hug and be there for you right now. I didn't know Dar except for through you, but she was an amazingly strong and resilient person like you.
Love you!
Laurie

Abifae said...

Thank you, Laurie :)

FD said...

You make me proud, little bear.