Thursday, January 13, 2011

Remember and embrace those close and not so close to you

Friday evening just before leaving the office I was on FB and my friend Megan had posted on her status to make sure that the next time you accept a friend request that you take the time to reach out to that person.

She made this post because she had just found out that a friend that she thought she had all the time in the world to re-connect with was gone.

This is one of her current photos and how I always remember her: with a smile

After reading the comments by others further the name Emily came up.

I don't know why, but this prompted me to send my friend a PM and ask more questions. She and I had a friend from way back named Emily and I had really hoped that this was not "our" Emily.

20 minutes later I received her reply. It was "our" Emily. There was very little information, but Megan was going to keep me posted.

I was heartbroken. I hadn't seen Emily in 17 or 18 years and then about a year and a half ago she popped up on Facebook. We chatted a few times on FB and had tentatively made plans to have lunch soon. We never could get a time locked down for that lunch.

Just writing this has a rush of emotions washing over me. Regret, anger, sorrow, emptiness, oddly enough happiness. I know it's weird, but as you read on you'll see why.

Flashing back, I had met Emily in middle school at the same time I had met Megan. We had two years of friendship and bonding during our time in middle school. Then came the day that we would move onto high school and be at different schools and  probably not see each other that often.

We were right and wrong there. We didn't see each other much that freshman year, but the school I was at was going to close at the end of the year. Not enough attendance to keep 3 high schools open in one district as small as ours.

The next school year I was back in the same school with Emily, and Megan, and things were well on track to getting back to normal.

Well kind of.

There will be always be good things I remember about Emily. If I listen close enough in my mind I can hear her laugh. It's loud and high pitched and then she just doesn't make any noise because she's gasping for air from laughing so hard and her face is turning red.

Emily was a nurturer. Funny looking back at things now that she had this social role in life that early on. She was the one that would seek you out if you were having the shittiest of days......."lets ditch and go to Finnegan's for pancakes and coffee" she would say. Fuck yeah. Pancake and coffee therapy was her answer to everything.

She loved music. We were both band-tards. That was really how we met. It was initially the only class we had together when we first met. We both had a love of Pink Floyd though we argued on which was the better album put out by them. Her favourite was the Delicate Sound of Thunder tour album. I have three favourites. Still have not been able to narrow it down from there.

Then there was the love of partying. Emily loved to party.

Boy we did a lot drinking.

High school band trips were just one big portable party. Bunch of kids on a bus taken the drinking on the road. We found a place in every city to party!!

She loved her animals. She had cats and a dog. They were her comfort.

She always seemed to have a look on her face that lead most to believe she wasn't paying attention and was clueless. She was far from clueless and scary smart.

There lunch runs to Dick's Drive In almost everyday in her little VW Squareback. Trusty little P.O.S got her everywhere.

The summer of 1989 when we graduated was the last time I really saw Emily. I actually don't know what happened to her after that.

Jump forward a few years to 1993. I had a call from one of the parental units. Emily had called their house looking for me.

So we we reconnected again and were meeting for lunch. She was living with her folks and trying to get her life sorted out again. We had several long chats over quite a few meals.

That would be the last time I actually ever saw Emily.

She did contact me on Facebook about a year and a half ago. We chatted periodically. We had wanted to get together for lunch or some kind of catch up meal.

I really wished I had made it happen. Like Megan, I kind of thought that we had all the time in the world.

Emily took her own life last week.

Emily also had a history of drug addiction.

She would have been 40 in February.

Going back to all those feelings...........
Regret-that our plans never made it past that.....plans.
Anger-with myself for not making sure I took that extra time to see how she was really doing.
Sorrow-for all the other people in her life that will miss her as much and more.
Emptiness-simply for the fact that when I see other friends from school, we will all be missing something.
Happiness-she's free of her personal demons. She had a few and we all know that and now she can move on.

Emily touched our lives in a good way regardless of her addiction and faults and for that she will be missed.

This has to be 1989: Emily on the far right and yes, that is yours truly with the Coke can. It was the 80's!
Since we are both fans of Pink Floyd I think it's only fitting to share one of our favourites. Looking back on things I can't help but wonder if this was hers for personal reasons.

I'm a firm believer in reincarnation. I think she's not really gone, but that she's taking a mulligan so that she can learn what she didn't the first time around.

Well I hope so.

By Em.


paisley penguin said...

I only knew Emily from flags in HS - she was crazy and always cracked everyone up. I remember her powder blu Carmengia.

Goodbye Em

Anonymous said...

A great tribute Chris. I hope that by writing this you are beginning the healing process. Losing a friend is traumatic - no matter how old you are or how long its been since you've actually seen that person. It's a scary reminder of our own mortality. Please allow yourself to forgive - forgive you for feeling like you didn't make enough time and forgive her for her mistakes. Let her memory be a good one, that comforts you and makes you smile. From what you just taught me about Emily I don't think she would want it any other way. XO

O. M. Grey said...

Beautiful post, Chris. Thank you for this reminder to reach out while we have the chance. A dear friend of my sister's just took her own life last week, and it's opened her eyes, too.