You reached across the miles and years and sent me a ticket to come east and join you and our best friends from college for a weekend trip that proved to be the best vacation I've had in at least a decade. A couple of days ago, we exchanged some emails. I wrote I'm having a bit of a blue period because Sophie turns 18 tomorrow. It's such a milestone and then it's not. I feel every one of the eighteen years and wonder how many more there will be. We're having a big birthday bash for her on the beach on Sunday late afternoon, so that'll be fun, but to tell you the truth I feel a little lonely in my grief/loss/etc. Hard to explain but perhaps easy to imagine.
It will soon be your father's birthday and the first anniversary of his death. You replied, Oh, I know . . . I've followed your blog all week and my heart aches and sings for Sophie (and you) at the same time. I have a little something special in mind to send Sophie. I thought of it earlier in the week but haven't been able to follow through. Just a little something. To bring you comfort, as well. I understand exactly the lonely bit. You hate to bring it up and yet you want everyone to know and remember and understand and empathize. So as a result I tend to hole up alone so I don't have to wish people understood why I'm seeming a bit removed or overly chatty. You get it, I know.
I read your words sitting in my car in a parking lot of a grocery store. They took my breath away and made me cry, two cliches that certainly don't do justice to the enormous gratitude I felt in reading them. Part of living an extraordinary life -- and I imagine that most of us live extraordinary lives -- is acknowledging and accepting hardship, grief and loss, shaping and draping them over your bones and tissues. And when my bones are heavy and tissues bleed, what sustains me are words and the connections they conjure. Your words arrived at the exact right moment and were arranged as a perfect witness, simple and graceful.
Thank you, dear you. I am blessed by your friendship and can only hope to return the love back to you in equal measure.
P.S. The sandalwood bracelet with green amethyst stones is beautiful. Sandalwood is said to bring clear perception to the wearer, and the green amethyst, inner peace. When I see it on Sophie's small wrist, I will be reminded, again, of your witness and grace.