For this month's postcard for the Keep Writing subscription, I wanted to have something special for February, a Valentine or a something for the shortest-month-Black-history month. At the last minute, I though of these. I had this dream months ago, and had written it down immediately. I had come across a quote I had written down in my tiny book of notable sayings:
The sleeping brain/has eyes that shine the light/we can never see
It seemed perfect. I drew a lunar moth, thinking of a friend's Mardi Gras costume, a Polaroid I still have, she was guiding a parade through an intersection, glowing. I put it together and almost forgot about it until 2 weeks later when it was time to print.
Suddenly it seemed too raw, too down, too much. It felt like the millionth post script on a conversation ended. Except the conversation hasn't ended for me. My friend died last August, I've made more than one postcard about it. I took a week off work, stayed home, talked with friends. I went to the memorial in October. And that should be it. But it isn't close.
He wasn't part of my daily life though he did write to me often, sometimes weekly. But we rarely talked on the phone, I missed his wedding and did not know when I could visit. I did not know the depth of his struggles until he sent a brief note before he died, and even then he downplayed the struggle. My friend was struggling with alcohol addiction, was hiding it from even his best friends, and now I talk about him in my dreams.
I think about this as I learn of an acquaintance*, a friend's son whom I knew mostly as a teenager, who also struggled with addiction. He passed away a few days ago and although I cannot remember a single conversation I had with him, I can remember the times I talked with his mom about him. I had an idea about it but no details, only that there was struggle. He was outwardly a warm sweet kid, a lot of fun. I'm saddened to hear of his passing, cannot imagine the pain for his family, only know enough details to form a vague picture but nothing else.
I heard someone else talk about this lately, this struggle to deal with death, with grieving. I have friends who have found ways with art, or with talking about lost friends daily, maintaining a living memory. I am a loss. I light candles, keep photos, tell stories, but sometimes (late at night on the rocks over looking the city while drinking with a friend) I realize there is so much more.
I have more than one friend dealing with the recent loss of a parent and I know there will only be more. I am still only learning the things to say in such grief as support, I still don't know what do in my dreams.
*I found out through facebook and do not have a lot of details. Most of the people I knew who knew him are aware already. I live far away and am removed from his circle of family and friends. So if you are wondering if it is someone you know, it probably isn't. His family is keeping it private and I wanted to respect that. If you have other questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org