I keep trying to let this go without words.
It doesn’t work for me.
The last couple of weeks have sucked. I wonder if they always will? Every day I kept thinking of what was happening two years ago. The arrangements. The plane flight. The car ride. The beach. And then the birthday.
Twenty-five years ago, I didn’t celebrate my birthday.
I thought then that it would be the worst birthday of my life. Yeah, so far, I was right. But two years ago, my birthday came a week after Michelle’s memorial service. I don’t know why her death sent me into such a death-spiral of grief and sorrow. Maybe it was just because it was the fourth death in six months. Maybe if she’d died at some safer time in my life it wouldn’t have hit me so hard. But no. No.
She was–is–the only person that I’ve ever thought truly understood me, down to my core, and loved me for who I am. Lots of people love me for who they think I am. I’ve got plenty of love. (Of course I do–I’m crazily co-dependent, tell me you need something and I will do my best to give it to you, no questions asked. It’s the recipe for love.) But Michelle–she saw all of me. And she didn’t ask for anything. She just loved.
Yesterday was her birthday. She would have been 47. She died when she was 44. Her birthday is 4/4. My birthday is 4/7. I want to believe that it will be a magical year–that my birthday year, my 47th, will be special, crazily wonderful in some way I can’t imagine. On your birthday year, all your wishes should come true. But I sort of think that Michelle would have wished for the cancer to go away, once and for all. And instead she died. And me… well, for the past couple of weeks I have just been captured by the sad. I know that there are worse things in life. Hell, all those people in Syria are pretty damn miserable right now. This week, a former colleague of mine got to tell his five-year-old daughter that the bad rocks in her head were back and she was probably going to die. I have nothing, NOTHING, to be sad about.
But I still miss Michelle. I still wish I could talk to her. I still want her to be here, somewhere. I still want to believe that I could reach out and find her somewhere. I’m still… just so sad.
I can only say I know some of your pain. My dear friend died a few years ago at 36 of breast cancer. She had been in remission for almost 5 years and spent most of that time fighting off things caused by the treatment and the devastation it caused her immune system. Then they found it again.
Her death had a profound effect on me. I know for me, I have to feel what I feel when I feel it for however long. People want to make it all better. They want to bring me (or you) back to a state where they don’t have to worry about you. It is meant to be helpful but often isn’t.
I don’t know if it is helpful to know this, but I have wondered where you were. I have missed your presence on the internet. I have hoped you were okay.
Is there anything that would help? Anything I can do?
Michelle was diagnosed in 2001. The prognosis then was for 2-5 years, but she made it almost 10. And I say that she wouldn’t have wished for death, but she’d fought for a long time–I might be wrong. Anyway, you are so right when you say people want to bring you back to a state where they don’t have to worry about you! Sometimes sad is just the mood of the moment. But I went swimming today and am currently in the midst of giving myself a purple streak in my hair and tomorrow, C is making me macaroni & cheese for my birthday dinner (YUM! Totally unhealthy! YUM, anyway!!) so I’m going to be okay. Thank you for letting me be sad online. 🙂
Hi Sarah, I can’t imagine what you are feeling, but I think Michelle was very lucky to have a friend like you. I would want to be missed when I die, but I am sure she would also want you to be happy. It is a bit of a dilemma.
Thanks, Carol! I’m sure you’re right.
Mel Grace said:
Sarah, I can’t think of anything I could say that would make you feel better. The sorrow of a great loss is a hole that can never be filled again by anything or any replacement. I lost my Mother suddenly a few years ago, she was my best friend and the one person who knew all of me and never judged. Even with that experience, there is still no way I can come close to understanding your pain. I think people can relate , but never truly understand the depths of another’s loss. Just know that your raw honest emotions touched me & that I’m thinking of you.
So sorry that you’ve been missing Michelle so badly these days.
And, yeah, been following Eric M…and crying.
I’d love to sit and have a beer with you this evening.
Ah, would that we could! It’s impossible not to cry when reading anything Eric writes these days. I don’t know how he’s making it through his days.
The only truth I know about the death of a kindred spirit is that the sadness and pain never truly leave. It gets easier and there are periods of time when you almost forget, but suddenly, and often for no discernible reason, you face full blast that immediate feeling of loss and devastation. I wish I had kinder, softer, and more comforting words, but for you, this time of the year is likely to always be difficult.
I wish for you, for your birthday, and all through the year, the joy and comfort of secure and unconditional love and the quiet happiness that brings inner peace.
Thank you, Allison! Your description is exactly right. It does get better–and then all of a sudden, it’s really hard again. Anniversaries and holidays are the hardest.
Olga Godim said:
This is the first time I came to this website – and I found this profound sadness. I’m sorry I can’t help, especially because your writing gives me such joy. I just discovered your books. Read the first one, loved it, read the second one – and now I’m absolutely enchanted. I was going to Amazon, to buy the third one, but got detoured here. I wish your sadness would pass. I wish you could feel even a fraction of a joy you granted me.
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the books and you did indeed make me smile. 🙂