Thursday, December 22, 2016

To Linda, from Bridget

Dear Linda,
This isn’t the first message I’ve written to you. I penned out a couple of pages
right after you died, and sent another short one to you online. I’m compelled
to write again today because I saw you last night. It was just a dream, and I
know it wasn’t really you, but you were there anyway. You were already sick,
with papery skin and a crochet hat to cover your bare head. It was just last
night and I already forget most of it. I think you were trying to warn me about
your sickness, to give me more time with you. I missed almost all of your last
year of life. It was kind of your fault, because you kept turning me away when
I asked to visit, but I could have pushed harder. Instead, I got to see you twice
shortly before you died. I’m so thankful for that, but I wanted more.

You said goodbye to me on the last visit that I had with you when you were coherent.
That might have been a week or so before you died. You were in and out a little bit
then, and you knew the end was near. How heartbreaking to have my dying friend
know that she was leaving soon, and to tell me that she’d miss me and would see
me in Heaven. I’m fighting tears at the thought. You told me to tell my husband that
you loved him, and I never did. I never managed to form the words.
I had to take a little break there. Kept crying. I’m going to try not to for the rest of this. 

It’s been 6 and a half months. I think about you most days in some way. I couldn’t
talk about you without crying at first. That’s gotten better. I don’t miss you less,
but I can function more easily. You were one of my very best friends, despite the
30 years between our ages. I’ll forever miss our easy lunches, our silly shopping trips,
your quick meals that you’d always throw together for me so I would never leave your
house hungry. You truly were a second mother to me, often kinder than my own mother.
Certainly more understanding, at least. Not that I don’t love her, but she raised me.
She had to be firm and you never did.
My husband and I have been trying to have a baby since right after you died. Years ago
you told me you had babysitting dibs and wanted to be an adopted grandma for my baby.
I’m heartbroken that you never will. I had a miscarriage in August and I hope that you’re
looking after that baby. 

Even after all this time, it’s still unreal. I often expect to bump into you at the store on accident,
like I used to. Or I’ll see you behind the wheel of some car on the road. You’re everywhere.
And nowhere.

This has taken on a major rambling quality. No poetry here, huh? But there’s not much
poetic about cancer and dying, is there? Just know that I love you and miss you as much
as ever and that there’s little I wouldn’t give for another lunch with you. We’d pack a
lifetime’s worth of visiting into those couple of hours. I’ll see you in Heaven.

So much love,