I have not forgotten you. I have just been terribly busy with wonderful things, very sad things, and all other sorts of things in between.
In the past six days, I have finished my first semester of my doctorate, gone on a staycation with my Pastry love courtesy of a door prize win at a venue we did not book, interviewed a DJ for our karaoke reception, marveled at said DJ’s amazing Indian Jones’ themed backyard and pool, started the ring design process for the every so lovely custom engagement ring, finalized the wedding gown I want to buy, harassed my best friend into coming to visit me this coming weekend, booked a pie tasting adventure, interviewed a wedding coordinator, read four books on building communities of practice, worried when said best friend suddenly was in the hospital, signed up for a gym membership to tone these arms, and lost another good friend of 27 years as she decided to end her life after struggling with her bipolar disorder for so long.
That last bit is definitely an immensely sad addition to a generally frivolous wedding blog, but it’s true and powerful and painful.
The last time I talked to her was about how excited she was to come to the wedding next May and how her husband was recovering well from a recent surgery. She was a gloriously eclectic, whip-smart, charismatic, and vibrant friend since the time my family moved in next to hers when I was around 4. She was almost 7 at the time, and she told my mom she was disappointed it was us as she had been told a nice Chinese family was moving in instead. We had all sorts of growing-up adventures, playing street hockey, raising kittens and trapping scorpions on the hillside, racing down the street on skateboards (me, very badly), going to the beach to body-board or just to be seen, stealing squashes out of a neighbor’s yard, learning the finer points of adolescent flirting, going to college parties while I was still in high school, visiting each other in our respective cities as we both moved around during college and post-college. We shut down karaoke bars in Hollywood, and ate cheap Mexican food in the middle of the night in a variety of locales. After my dad passed away several years ago, she was one of the only people to visit my mom and I after his memorial service, bringing a bag of carefully selected snacks and an orchid (that we inevitably killed due to lack of water shortly near after). I took for granted that she would always be there, loud, talkative, slyly challenging people with her wit. She was not perfect in my memory or in hers, and she seemed to constantly worry that she was living her life in an inherently flawed way, struggling with a history of severe mental health issues and the sudden loss of both of her parents in the last couple of years. And, so she ended her own life.
I am so sad that she is gone. And, I feel so privileged to have known her.
It would now be easy to frame this in terms of a wedding for the sake of blog coherency, new beginnings and endings all becoming very transparent in the process of creating a new, little family. But, I don’t want to diminish my friend, her experiences, or the loss. So, simply, I am a bit sad, but I will be okay. And, though she is gone, I know that she will be okay in the end. And, the rest will continue to move-on, arrangements for weddings and memorial services, plans, lives, families, losses, loves, and deaths. Friendship moves and changes people in such unexpected ways. And, she changed me to be me, flaws and all. I will miss her dearly.