Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dumb Stupid Love

I'm rooted in moody nostalgia today, and I don't expect that to let up anytime soon. This weekend is Niki's memorial. I'll be going to my childhood home to attend, and also to see my family, and as I prepare it's making my heart do all kinds of swirly things. Because of distance I've been able to remain in semi-denial about my friend's passing for the last six months, and I think the service, and seeing Nik's husband and her mom and other family members, as well as my own homegrown mutual besties, will be a major shock to the system. There might be a start at closure, but more likely this is just going to start bringing everything up for really real. It's a good thing, a healthy thing, but I don't have a handle on how tough it's going to be. It's not like I can rehearse for grief or be ready in any way, just gotta take it as it comes and let it wash over me and let us all work on healing together in our company and shared remembrance. I expect a lot of laughing, a lot of crying, a lot of reminiscing, a lot of drinking, a lot of unknown.

The thing about love is that it's the worst, because when you lose the ones you love it hollows you right out. The love for that person will never go away, but for awhile it becomes displaced, inverted, a jackhammer gouging at your soul, leaving you marked. Every time it happens it attacks in a different, awful way. But love is also the best, the only and the essential. It can't fill in the craters of loss or make the marks disappear. It can't bring anyone back. But it can turn the scars into luminous tribute. It can whisper into the heart and tell it, "Hey, you're not alone. We'll get through this together." Because so many people loved Niki, the love we all share keeps her alive in some way. It's not the same as having her here, not by a long shot. And my life would be easier, less painful right now, if I'd never known and loved this woman. But baby, that's the trick of love. It's worth the pain, in the long run, to have had Niki's shining star in my life. It's better to have felt the loss of a deep and lasting friendship than to never had known it at all. It doesn't mean my friend's death isn't still the awfullest thing. It  is, to me. But I've got to go on, we've all got to, and love is what's left to work with.

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