Tuesday, June 10, 2014

20 Years Today

Today I got re-routed on my way to work.  While I was bitching about the construction on summer streets, I turned right off the main street and knew instantly where I was. One more four-way stop and I would be there.  Not where I intended to be as I was surely going to be late for work but maybe where I was supposed to be even if for the briefest moment.  Beyond the gates lies a place where your name is etched in stone.  I already knew what today was. I have known for weeks that it was coming and I went to bed yesterday aware of what day I would awake to.  Today is twenty years since my life changed forever, the day You died.
Driving slowly past the cemetery I thought about how I might write this blog, if I felt so inclined.  Today was spent in reflection on how meeting you, loving you, knowing that you had died and experiencing your funeral had impacted me but also who I would become as a result.  I decided that putting it to words would help me to honour your memory in a way that feels authentic to me.

Before you I believed that I was invincible, not like superman or some other fictional character but from a place that is based in the residual beliefs of childhood and magical thinking.  In addition to having this amazing ability, I also thought that I would amount to something great - which would definitely be in the area of helping others.  This was the way of the adolescent ego and that is the time that I am speaking of, when you entered my life. The time between childhood and adulthood, where for many who live with the privilege of health, family and modest middle class, it is a time where the good outweighs the bad.
I knew of you before I knew you and so I was aware that you had Cystic Fibrosis. I even did a project on the disease for health class and I had not even met you yet.  The day I did actually meet you, you introduced yourself so assertively and with so much kindness, I liked you instantaneously. In that first conversation you told me about CF as a gesture of transparency and I told you all I had learned about the disease and we fell into an easy friendship.  If I am being honest now, in that first meeting I wanted to save you. I thought I could be the one that would go on to be some sort of Biochemist who in my brilliance could research and cure Cystic Fibrosis (even though I had I dropped out of chemistry a semester earlier).  I was so future-oriented planning the things that we would do together as friends I see now how you helped root me in the present, even before this whole Mindfulness movement, so I could enjoy it there with you ~Thank You.
I don't want to fast forward through the 10 months I got to spend as your friend but I know I could fill 6 blogs talking about that time and I want something different for this one.
June 10, 1994 - you died.  I was devastated.  We were all devastated.  Nothing can  prepare you for the death of someone you love.
I know now that I lost more then you that day; I lost my invincibility, my immortality and my identity.  I was not going to save anyone from death not even myself.  It may seem like an unbearable lesson and for a time it was but it also began to carve out the path for my life.  Admittedly, I was not ready to take that path at the time and it would be years and another death that would finally have me walking my own journey but I am on it now. In my role I support the bereaved as they enter their own journey and I can come from an authentic place with empathy and compassion that I learned because you were my friend.
As in any life that is built from the lessons that death has taught, it is bittersweet.  To have today be just another day and to have you here - well I would have chosen a different path if only it were a choice.
Sheri I remember you always and I know that I have never been alone on my path and that has brought me a tremendous amount of comfort in some of the darkest times.  Miss you ~Until We Meet Again.

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