Monday, December 12, 2016

Broken heart

In memory of my friend Melissa, who passed away about 3.5 years ago

December 2013

I found out on Thursday that one of my friends died. I don't know what happened. She died in her sleep. She was pretty young. Early 30s. She'd had a lot of health problems following a car accident a few years ago. Maybe her passing was inevitable. She'd had a lot of surgeries and was on lots of medication. Some of it was powerful and would make her pass out cold in the middle of the day. Some of it caused her to hallucinate and required hospitalization when she freaked out at home.

I cannot lie and say my heart is broken -- we weren't close like that. But I am struck at the finality of death and the disbelief I've been feeling over and over since a former coworker messaged me on Facebook yesterday morning and said our mutual friend had passed. Passed? Passed what? I scanned my brain, trying to think of tests she'd been studying for. Oh... wait. Passed... away? What??

I've cried a few times today. I let the tears come, remembering myself about 10 years ago before hard work in therapy helped me break through whatever wall I'd built around my tears. The first time I cried after the proverbial dam opened, I wailed. I was the epitome of the ugly cry. Now I cry all the damn time. It's good, I know. I'm not exactly bitching. That said, everything from a touching video or commercial to frustration or a poignant song lyric can flip the switch without warning.

Earlier, I was listening to Sting's "Brand New Day." It's a wonderful, dancey, happy song about getting past heartache. I was singing along and stopped short when "You'll never know how much I missed her" soared through my headphones. Even though the lyric is about a guy missing his ex-girlfriend, it made me stop singing and just stare into space for the duration of the song.

Even though we'd only hung out a handful of times since working together at my former company, my friend and I had still had lunch, driven around in the sunshine, and even gone day drinking. The last time I saw her, she sent me home with an apple pie she'd made me just because she could. She was eternally positive, fiercely loyal to her alma mater, the biggest fan of the state fair I've ever known, and funny as hell.

Maybe my heart's a little more broken than I want to admit.

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