November has always been about passages for me, life changes and transitions. I always wondered if my own clock was more in tune with the earth than it was with the Gregorian calendar, though now I just realized why I feel such loss around this time of year.
Five years ago, my best friend passed away after a 2 year-long battle with ovarian cancer. Through it all, she never complained. She told me once that she had two choices – complain about the things that weren’t good or be grateful for the ones that were. So she chose the latter, choosing to surround herself with white light no matter the challenge.
Today, while my son was going through his swim therapy, I perused through her old email messages to me, the only things I have to remind me of her kind words no matter the challenges she was faced with at that moment.
She died on 11/6/10 and I remember my last visit to her two weeks earlier when she gave me her massage therapy manual for that’s where we’d met back in 1997 and I’d lost mine a long time long before then.
A week later she called to tell me to keep writing even though I was too ashamed to tell her the truth – that I’d stopped writing 8 years earlier. She also told me to watch my weight and be kind to myself.
And while I haven’t exactly watched my weight that well, I have resumed writing – as you all probably have noticed. And today I ordered two copies of the paperback version of the book I dedicated to her, Finding Sam – a surreal experience that’s more surreal than when I ordered my copy of my second novel, Loving Ashe.
And even though being a writer navigating through the new social media can be scary, I have to remind myself that like Pam, I have two choices. Complain about the things that aren’t exactly going great (it’s all perspective as well) or be grateful for the ones that are – like health, family, and life in general.
A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?
I haven’t been spending as much time with my prompts lately because I’ve been working on my novel more, and if it’s not my novel, it’s just writing in general, including editing. Words seem to be my constant companion these days – words and ideas. It makes me seem so antisocial but I can’t help it. The words just have to flow or I’ll be miserable.
But if I had to pick five people I would like to spend my time with, first, I’d like to make sure that they would actually like to spend time with me. I mean, what if they say no?
I can’t remember when this was taken, maybe around 1998 or so – which means, that’s quite a long long time ago – like, really long. This was taken around the time of my birthday, when I was supposed to be with 50 friends on our second round of white water rafting in the American River. A year before, we all filled a tour bus and had a keg of beer on the way there and back – and I had an amazing time.
But at the last minute, two of my other friends (who weren’t part of the river rafting group) wanted me to go with them to San Francisco – either that, or something happened that I wasn’t able to go to the river with everyone else – who knows, I was probably broke from too much partying. And so instead of spending my birthday home alone (while everyone was out of town without me), my friends and I drove up to San Francisco and had fun – though not to the degree that going white water rafting would have been.
I remember the long winding drive along the coast (not good when you’re the passenger) and the smell of sea lions hanging out on the beach (not good to be downwind). There was wine tasting (great when you’re not the designated driver) and of course, sight seeing, including this one with the Bay Bridge in the background. One of my friends, it turned out, was a loud snorer and the other girl didn’t warn me – and she even had her own set of ear plugs, which she used every night.
But the one thing I remember the most now as I look at this is how much I wore a lot of RED. I mean, I wore a lot of red while I was single. These days, I wear primarily black, even in the summer – and after seeing all these old pics of me wearing tons of bright strong colors, it makes me wonder what the deal is with all the black in my closet.
Well, maybe I shouldn’t over think it and just go with the flow. In the meantime, it’s time to go shopping and add some color back into my life…
I’m drinking coffee from the cup
you gave me, wishing you well
on this spring day
and hoping you’re feeling better
than the day before
I miss the happy words
that you say in your messages
and your smiles –
You make every trial worthwhile
I want to banish all your pain
away; you see, I want it no other way.
But life often gives us lemons
so let’s just make some lemonade
Let’s smile and hold our heads up high
and enjoy the journey we’ve made
So for now, I’ll leave wishes in the ether,
and hope that they will get to you
I miss our talks,
I miss our jokes
I guess I just miss you.