I just received one of those calls you just never want to recieve. It's one where you know immediately the news is not going to be good. You can hear it in the tone of voice. Sadness cannot shield itself from the ears, if you're listening, if you're aware. If I were present with this person, I would have seen it in her eyes. I wish it were not so.
This person was the daughter of a good friend of mine from when I first moved to Phoenix back in 1987, as a college student, finishing up my last semester with an internship. This woman was one of the first neighbors I met at our apartment complex. We quickly grew close, as close as a person will let you. Her daughter played with my daughter. We became companions and friends who kept in contact with each other off an on throughout these past years--except for in the last three or four. We lost touch, as friends sometimes do. I never stopped thinking about her, but I lost touch. And I never reconnected, even though I thought about it many times.
Now I won't have the opportunity. That opportunity is lost. My friend's daughter called to tell me her mom had committed suicide. She'd been hurting, she'd been in pain, she was bi-polar, my friend's daughter said. After all these years, I never knew that. I knew she'd lived with an illness for many years that kept her with very little energy. I knew she was in pain most of the time. And I knew she'd survived breast cancer. I knew all of that. But I never knew she was bi-polar. It wouldn't have made a difference. She was a woman with a big heart, just not big enough for herself. She is the woman I'll remember as being there for me as best she could. I knew that. She is the woman I'll remember as being the person who always was the first to send out her holiday greeting cards. For nearly 20 years, hers was always the first to arrive in my mailbox. Believe me, I noticed when they stopped. But, you know, I didn't call. I just accepted that she needed a break. She's also the woman I knew couldn't accept what she gave. There was a hesitancy when you reached out to hug her, and she didn't know how to ask you for anything. Maybe she thought you'd say no, but you wouldn't have, if given the chance.
There are a lot of should'ves I could be reciting right now. Her daughter and I spoke on the phone for as long as she could. It was hard. I'm numb. My friend kept a lot to herself. She revealed things that were painful, but only on the surface. She couldn't go deep enough. I know now that's because she didn't know herself well enough. She didn't trust herself well enough. She didn't have the strength, at least she wasn't aware that she did. Because she had all of what I speak about here at the BIKE blog. She was capable. She just didn't know. My friend is a good example of what happens when we're not aware of our gifts. We get lost. We get lost in the pain.
I've missed my friend these past years. But more importantly, like her daughter, I'm sorry I didn't know she needed more than just to be missed. A hug wouldn't have cured her depression, I know. Letting her talk wouldn't have been enough. She had issues with her parents that were never resolved. I couldn't have helped her with that. How do you reach a person to help them find a way to help themselves, to become whole, to fill the soul with the inner peace and love we all deserve. My BIKE helped me, of course, but I wasn't lost in the sense that I could never be found.
I feel like that's exactly what my friend was. She was lost and never had the chance to find herself. She never knew she could have found herself. If you know what it's like to feel like that even for an instant--and I do--but then to think what it would be like to feel this way all the time, with no end in sight, because you can't see it, that's the kind of pain I now realize my friend suffered daily.
If you believe in heaven, as I do, then you know that's where my friend is now, getting that love she never quite felt here. Not because the people around her were incapable of giving it, but because she was incapable of receiving it. Not because she didn't want to, but just because she didn't know how. Now, I can understand why she was so free to give me advice and to praise me. She did that all the time. I didn't need the praise, but she was free to give it. What she really needed, though, was to turn that praise around and bestow it on herself. I'd like to believe she's doing that now, that she's getting the love she's always deserved.
For us here on earth, that's something we'll have to believe. I don't want to think anything else.
So this is for you, Micki. I'm proud to have been your friend. I wish I could have been more.
There is love,