Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Warming whispers in the din of sorrow

My friend’s cancer has a 15% survival rating 2 years out. We all try to remain hopeful, but there comes a time when reality must be accepted for what it is.

Naturally, I am overwhelmingly sad about this.

God has a way of sprinkling a bit of glitter on my gloomy dance card at times when I really need it. After receiving this latest update, I checked my email before settling back into my day. What I received lifted my spirits twofold, and I’m so excited about both that I don’t know which to share first. When in doubt, chronology is always a logical choice, right?

I first got an e from JC, my friend who received the rainbow moment with me (ref. post "J’s Goodbye"). As I may or may not have mentioned before, following that stunning connection I received a letter from J in the mail, one month to the day after her death. She had been writing it at the time of her death (not literally, rather around that time) and R had run across it while going through her things. She mailed it to me, thinking I’d like to have it. The remarkable factor was that the letter bounced around in the mail system for about a week after it was postmarked, bringing it to me on the anniversary instead of some arbitrary day. The coincidence shook me to my foundation and strengthened my belief that somehow J was still reaching out to comfort those she cared about. I felt comforted and loved. I shared the experience with JC – she agreed it must be more than a coincidence and told me that she was even a little jealous (in a good way), wishing she could receive a sign.

Bear with me now – the following is relevant background merely disguised as a rambling tangent ;). Of all my near and far away friends, some of us still practice the ancient art of putting pen to paper and stamp to envelope in our keeping in touch rituals. In the snail-palling world, there are items of trade known as “slams” or “friendship books”. Basically they are circular-path swapping items, involving entering your name and address and various pieces of information about yourself. A friend sends it to you, you send it to another friend, and they send it to another. Once there is no more room, the slam is to be courteously mailed back either to the original person or to the person the slam has been made for. Slams can circulate for months, even years before returning home – and more often than not (in my experience anyway) they may never even make it back. But they are a good tool for getting to know new friends and having fun with old friends.

Back to my main thread. Monday was JC's birthday, and she excitedly told me of a special gift she received. The mail arrived, and mixed in the typical fare was a slam that was being returned to her. The slam had been made for her by J. She told me she couldn’t help but think that J was managing to send her a special birthday wish. My heart rejoiced that my new friend had gotten her sign from our pal whom I know loved her so much.

Upon finishing that e, I went on to the next. This one was from my childhood friend I dreamt about the other night. I sent him an e letting him know of the dream and expressing the pull to reconnect. He wrote back telling me that it was almost too strange to be coincidence. He had been in our hometown visiting his mother during that time. He was helping her go through some things in the basement, the area we most frequented in our rainy-day, mad scientist spells, and was subsequently spending a lot of time thinking about the “good old days”. He had wanted to contact me while he was home but didn’t have access to email and didn’t know my new address and phone number since we'd moved last summer. He found it remarkable that we were thinking similar thoughts at the same time, though we hadn’t really talked in months.

Did our thoughts have strength enough to somehow connect that night? I don’t know. But it’s good to be reminded that some friendships span all realms and passages of time.

4 comments:

JenCB said...

I knew he had been home in the past week, but didn't even think about linking those two situations!
What a strange, intriguing world we live in, ain't it?

sidetrack said...

Wow. Your words remind me of a similar unfinished letter my best friend MK had been writing to me before she died suddenly at 18 of a brain aneurism. Her mother forwarded the letter to me. I still miss her hugely.

Could it be possible? Do we get to keep our friends and loved ones somehow? That must be why we write. That must be like flying in dreams.

Michael said...

That's wonderful!

Emit-Flesti said...

You know?
It took me sometime, but I learned that every time I think about someone I know (with whom I lost contact for a while), that's probably because that someone it's thinking of me too.
;)