It seems to me, more and more, that a common thread seems to run through these places we frequent called Blogs. These people become our friends, our kindred spirits. We love with them, we celebrate with them, we take them into our homes and into our hearts.
Tonight, I too, am feeling the sadness that many of you are feeling, only in my own way. Two years ago my very dearest friend since I was 13 years old, passed away. She was the mother of my friend and she was just as close to me in many ways (and sometimes more ways) than my own friend. We had a common bond; an understanding.
She was a tough person, surviving cancer for many years and hardly ever complaining about it either. She lived into her 80's, a very long life but it was a struggle. Her husband died when I was in my early 20's and she lived all those years as an independent woman. She was self-assured and knew what she liked and didn't like about things and people. And, she was usually "right on" about her feelings about someone. She had a way of zoning in on the very heart of a person and could read them well. I trusted her instincts about people. I trusted her.
Lela was a wonderful cook, often sitting up into the wee hours of the night reading cookbooks if she was having difficulty sleeping. She was always trying new recipes and sometimes would surprise me by sending me a copy of one of her latest "finds" in the mail. She knew that I loved mail and would always send me things. Sometimes they were filled with a surprise, sometimes I knew what was in the envelope. But, all the same, I knew it was from Lela and I was going to enjoy it.
Lela also loved to laugh. Sometimes, after she would call me up about something that was bothering her, we would end up talking about old times and we would get to giggling so hard. It didn't take much to rustle up the old memories and get us laughing. I would listen to her and try to offer her comfort but really what helped the most was the giggles. Have you ever laughed so hard you peed your pants? I can't tell you how many times that happened to us. And not always in a place where it didn't matter, let me tell you!!
I know it is a part of life (and eventually death since basically the moment we are born we are headed for dying) but you can't help but miss someone so much once they leave this place we call earth. I can feel that she is with me whenever I need her but there is nothing like actually being able to dial the phone and hear her voice. I talked to Lela at lease once a week (and sometimes more) for years. I lived over 3 hours away and couldn't always get away to visit with her in person, but we spoke on the phone all the time. She would have something bothering her and she needed to talk. I was always there for her and tried to work it out as best as I could on the phone. One time she was mad because her daughter wouldn't answer the phone over the weekend so I called her and relayed the message. It wasn't anything to really get worked up about: she just needed some bananas from the store! But, her daughter wasn't there, she had tried another friend to no avail, and then she called me. I guess she did without those bananas that weekend. We got a big laugh about it in future phone calls. Funny how something that seems so critical at the moment can dissipate after talking to a good friend. I wish she were here more times than not when I need someone to talk to. She understood me. I understood her. It was just that simple.
I told Nina at "Ornamental" that for me, it wasn't the many houses that Lela had that I miss so much now that she is gone. Sure, she had some great houses but what made them great houses was the fact that they had "her" in them. Her furniture could change, her address could change, but we were always comfortable no matter where Lela lived. I wish that there were some magical formula that we were privy to that would "put her in a pumpkin shell and keep her, very well". Peter knew the secret. Why didn't he pass it along to us?
Life is such a mysterious thing. I think writing a blog enhances that mystery, at least for me. I "connect" with people I have never met. I see photos of things that touch them deeply: their art, their families, their animals; the streets and flowers and trees that surround their homes. Yet, I do not know these people personally. I really don't think that matters. We are kindred spirits, on the same quest (or somewhat similar) otherwise we wouldn't be "connecting" to what they are writing about on their blogs.
Is it sad to lose someone? YES! It is very sad. What keeps me going and striving for as much life as I can squeeze out of this sad body is the fact that there are people out there who remind me that just by "connecting" via their blogs I can laugh again. I can cry along with you, too. And, you are there for me in a supportive way. I can feel it. I hear from some of you daily. Some: not so often but I know that you care because you tell me so.
This mystery of life is a strange one. I am happy that I am on the journey that I am though, at this point in my life. There are very few people that understand me the way that Lela did. Very few people that I can laugh with or cry with at the drop of a hat. I feel lucky to have found those of you that I have. I am happy you have invited me into your homes and your lives even though it is a "virtual" visit. That still counts, doesn't it? This virtual visit?? I sure hope so because I need to know that it does. I have come to count on you, as weird as that sounds. You are not too busy to sit down at your desk and write about your problems, your celebrations, your loves and losses. And, I am not too busy to not "answer your phone call".
Lela: I hope that you are listening. I hope that you can hear me thinking about you and writing about you. I miss you very, very much. I think of you always and constantly ask myself: "what would Lela say/do about this?" You made a huge impact on my life and still do. You taught me that it didn't matter what I had, as far as material "things". What mattered most to you were friends and being comfortable with what you chose to do. You were generous to a fault. You once told me all I needed was one GOOD friend. Well, I had that in you, that's for sure! Thank you for finding value in me, too. I was a teenage with no self-esteem and still struggle with that. But, you made me forget that. You praised me for what was good about me. You made me feel important. You made me feel loved and comfortable and always safe. Thank you for being you.
(Please read the next last post where I posted a photo of Lela with her husband Neil when they were very young and in love. This photo sits in my bedroom and is the last thing I see before I fall asleep at night.)