Thursday, March 3, 2011

Make it Real

Do you watch How I Met Your Mother? In a recent episode, Marshall’s father dies. Marshall and his dad are really close friends- they talk about everything! At one point Marshall says, “Things didn’t feel real until I told my dad…” The show goes through a montage of different serious and funny things like graduating college, finding collector’s items, breaking that collector’s item, etc. Each time he’s on the phone with his dad and his dad is celebrating or mourning with him.

I relate to that feeling. I am lucky enough to be friends with my parents. It didn’t happen overnight. It required my parents to allow me to become an adult in their mind’s eye, and for us to develop a mutual respect. Things don’t always feel real until I’ve talked them over with my mom or dad. They are some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

Furthermore, most every friendship I have had there is an element of things not being real until they are shared with another person or discussed in the aftermath. Allison and I in Ecuador would “re-hash” our experiences until we’d refer to certain events as “crystallized moments”. One of my fondest memories of living in the dorms at college is sitting on Heather (Kirby)’s bed to recount the events of the night before. And there was my good friend Gary Silka who was my confidant for gossip and grades through most of college.

My husband is a big part of “making things feel real” for me now, it’s funny how we can still talk on the phone for 20 minutes or more every day on our way home from work. My boss is also a sounding board. Things that happen at work don’t always feel completely real until I’ve complained to him about it (that’s a slight exaggeration).

As Heather said today, “Life is all about connections”. That is true, there are so many people I share stories with that make things real.

A big part of my relationships are now happening online. My best friend Ally and I email, chat and Skype online. We tell each other things as mundane as what we re eating that day, as well as the most important things to our hearts.

I keep up with my dear friends (and a couple of not so dear friends) through their Facebook and blogs. It is real to me that Shannon dropped her phone in the toilet (again), and that my brother’s food truck is having their grand opening on Saturday. It’s real that my sweet cousin broke her leg and my old friend from work has some of the most clever kids in the world!

But today…. Today there is something that I do not WANT to be real. Therefore, I don’t want to talk to my mom or my friends, I don’t want to post it on Facebook… I’m not ready to acknowledge it’s real…

Death is a shocking event- even when you know it is coming. It is so final. It is so harsh and cold and unforgiving. It’s completely messed up, difficult to understand. Wrapped up into it are so many religiously and politically loaded feelings, not to mention the fear of the unknown. There are so many sentiments, so many ways people try to draw a silver lining (live in your heart forever, etc) and so many clich├ęs (“let me know if you need anything”- like the surviving family is really going to ask you to come over and feed their dog because they really can’t seem to make it out of bed the next day? Yeah right.). There’s no logic or rhyme or reason that I can understand and the emotions just keep coming even though I’m doing my darn best to shut them out!!

I could go on, but I will get to it.

Reluctantly, I will tell you. My very dear friend Rebecca Ebey passed away yesterday. She and I referred to each other as “sister”. Not only because people would mistake our long curly hair for being sisters, but also because we felt the close bond that you might expect from a sister. Rebecca was an only child, but she had a lot of “sisters”. Rebecca was beautiful, vivacious and effervescent. We were a lot alike. It feels like my “soul sister” is gone from the earth.

I take comfort in knowing that her pain is gone, she suffered for only a few months. For more information on the rare type of cancer Rebecca had, http://www.cholangiocarcinoma.org/.

RIP Rebecca Ebey, you will be greatly missed. sister!