I know there are seven stages of grief; I am experiencing the first four all at once.
My eyes are swollen. My head hurts. My heart… I try to sleep to block out all conscious thought; yet the reality follows me there and once again, my eyes drown in all the pain they swim in. I cannot believe; yet I know it is true. My friend is gone.
What I do not know, is how. And, the details of how and why she was taken from us are of tantamount importance to me. To help with understanding. And hopefully, healing. Not knowing leaves a gaping hole in the place where our conversations used to live and, if she is never to come back, that hole needs to be closed.
So, I told you on Tuesday she was gone. Only now can I express how I came about this knowledge.
As I stated, we met in a Psychology class a few years ago; and, as we were of similar age and consequently realized we had similar histories, our friendship, our sisterhood was founded. Gloria also has one daughter. She, like me, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. We’re both Scorpios. We both have paid our dues at the hands of others and lived to tell the tale. Our histories informed our present and were supposed to have informed our futures for many more years to come.
We juggle and at time struggled to manage home, school and work; but we did it. And, we made time for each other. Every month. At least once a month. And, if necessary, for an errant stressor, need for some clarity, good news, birthday, social occasion that warranted shopping (yep, usually mine), we would squeeze in more time. My point is, this was a friendship, and a sisterhood we committed to amongst life’s other demands. Because well, it was important to us and we needed it. School at our age is tough; and we celebrated the knowing the other had in recognizing that. We had grown-up realities that needed regular expression and thankfully, we were able to do that together. We pushed each other for better… grades, papers, lives. We used our pasts to fuel our present and to burn a path to follow for our futures.
It was time to get together for our monthly pow-wow. Some ‘girl time’ was needed. I ran into Gloria approximately three weeks ago in school after class one day; we hugged, squealed at the random meeting and planned to call to set up our date. A few days later I started calling. Her mobile went to voice-mail and at her office, my call was answered by one of those corporate answering things. I didn’t panic. A few days later when the fog of my own life parted, I again tried; same results. Then I remembered she was to have gone on vacation to Mexico with her daughter, so I thought that was why I could not reach her. I waited. Last week, I tried; the same. On Friday I sent a text that said, “Okay, I am starting to worry. Are you okay?” No response. On Tuesday morning I called her mobile. Voice-mail. I called her job. Someone answered. I asked for her. The person hesitated. And in that pause, my heart moved to my throat and I asked (or maybe yelled), “Is she there? Is she okay?!” She wasn’t. She isn’t. They told me my friend had died. And, that is all they would tell me.
I have tried Googling her. Nothing. I am no longer on FB but tried to go on to see if I could see anything; I can’t find her. I have left my name and number at her job and asked if they would pass it on to family; I hope they do. In the meantime, I struggle. I struggle with the incredible pain of loss. And, I struggle with trying not to fill in the blanks myself. My head is filled with all the possibilities of what could have happened to my friend. I lose my mind thinking she could have suffered. That she knew what was to happen. God, I pray she didn’t! Tears blind me at the thought of her daughter; knowing that if my heart is shattering, hers must be in pieces scattered everywhere. I want to see her. I want to see if there is anything I could do for her now or in the future. I want to share with her all her mother and I shared about her. I want to tell her just how sorry I am. And, I want her to know her mother will be so very missed. And was so very loved by me.
So, I pray someone, when they can, gets in touch with me. In the meantime, I will wait. And pray. I will grieve. And, I will find the strength to keep on that path my friend Gloria and I spoke of. My steps may be slower and my footprints will be deeper, because this I vow to do… I will carry my friend over that academic finishing line, through my achievements, in both our names.
Gloria, I miss you. I love you. And, I am so very sorry your story got interrupted. Until we meet again know that through my tears, through my pain and through all the grief I feel, I will make you proud. I got us down here, Sister. You take care of you up there.