Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Day After

Cecily's celebration of life was yesterday.   It was a fascinating thing seeing so many people from so many facets of her life.  One thing was for sure.  I'm fairly certain that everyone in her life is an excellent hugger.

I stood up to do my damndest to honor my friend.  I told the story of how I played my ukulele for her.  How I was out of tune and I don't play well.  But how she still connected with the music and teared up. I pointed out in surprise that it was not due to my playing.  I don't know if my point of the story got across.  But for me it was about her sensitive soul.  This activist had this tender bit of her and it was startlingly beautiful.

Then I read what I had written in the wee hours.  I may have changed a word or two in the reading of it, but it's what I had printed out to read from.  The line breaks were often used to remind me where to pause in speech.  Here it is:

I found a small quote by Thomas Moore
“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible.
To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion,
but it involves courage and risk.”
I think he’s right.
There’s never been a greater blessing than to have been able to open yourself to another person and still be loved,
especially in spite of all the parts of yourself that you may not like very much.
I believe Cecily was one of those people Mr. Moore was talking about.
She has been someone I always have been able to speak freely to without fear of judgement and without fear of abandonment.
No small feat.
I have always admired her authenticity.
Her strength.
Her commitment to stand up for what was right,
and to stand up for others, who cannot do so for themselves.
I have always admired and valued her propensity to love deeply and completely.
In these last few weeks it’s been easy to get caught up in wondering what if she were still here.
The battles she would have won.
The songs that would have moved her.
The world she would have touched
and in doing so all the beauty that would have been brought forth.
I’m sure the thought will make it’s rounds again.
But as long as I can remember to,
whenever I feel I have the choice,
on days where I just don’t want to be sad (but it is okay to be sad)
I will instead choose to think of the millions of ways my life is better
for having been able to call Cecily my friend.
I am forever changed because of her.
She has taught me that being vulnerable takes strength.
It takes very little strength to pretend things don’t bother you,
to turn a blind eye to wrong doings
and to live shallowly. 
It takes a whole lot more courage to show the world your soft, sensitive self,
to admit that there are things that can crush you,
and even sometimes going as far as to divulge just what those things are.
But she helped me embrace all these parts of myself that I struggle to look at.
She has taught me to be kinder to myself. 

I’d like to read a little something by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
“The reality is that you will grieve forever.
You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one;
you will learn to live with it.
You will heal
and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.
You will be whole again
but you will never be the same.
Nor should you be the same
nor would you want to.”

I believe she’s right.
Because of Cecily I can love more deeply.
I can laugh more freely.
I can forgive myself more readily.
Because of Cecily the world is more vibrant.
She helped me see joy in connections,
in the natural world around us
……and even in sugar laden chocolate and frivolous tv.
And no matter what self doubts I have
she made it clear that she saw me as something more than I ever could have seen on my own.

Cecily will never truly be gone.  Because we are changed by knowing her.
I know I’ll never be the same. 

And remember, “grief only exists where love lived first” -franchesca cox
Imagine all of that interjected with me trying not to cry, and failing.

Lots of insights flitted about my head throughout the night.  One thing, entirely having to do with me alone, was the acute realization that as I'm getting older, or maybe it's less about age and more about something else, I'm becoming more awkward.  I don't know if I'm just not as good at hiding my insecurities as I once was or maybe I'm more insecure.  I'm struggling dramatically to talk to people.  I feel like my life is one big dose of open mouth, insert foot.  Everyone was gracious, of course.  But I was so ridiculously awkward.  You should have heard my inner monologue once someone gave me the "what is wrong with her" look.  I tried to figure the math of it.  "Maybe if I stop talking after *this* moment I'll be okay."  It was better, but still painfully difficult.  One of the hardest things was when people would tell me I wrote/spoke well and all I knew how to say was "thank you."  There was something left hanging in the air but I didn't know how to fix it.  I would start rambling then get THAT look.  Then I would promptly excuse myself.  I'm getting worse with people and have no idea why.

Okay.  I'll write more about my insights later.  'Til next time, friends.

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