Tuesday, September 13, 2016


    Grief is a mysterious affliction. Painful, hot and cold, waxing and waning, swells up from the deep to grab you by the ankles and drag you under the dark waves. I have lost people, friends and family, over the years. Old age, suicide, motorcycle accident, cancer. Crossing the bridge after a long life is a well earned rest, I think. Suicide was shocking and not shocking, coming after a life time of severe mental illness. Motorcycle accidents are tragic, but oddly, we know it is part of the risk of riding. Cancer... well cancer is a motherfucker, and it sucks, but you see it coming and manage to have yourself a bit prepared once all the options and alternatives have been exhausted. Fuck Cancer.
    But this latest loss. Sudden and unexpected, unfair and unjust, undeserved and out of the blue. I can't wrap Brain around it. I am in denial, which I do know is one of the stages of grief. But I'm not here to fall into the easy analytical aspect of how the world of academia says we should work our way through our grieving process. I want to rant and rave. I want to fall into the dark abyss and wallow. I want to curl into a fetal position and cry until I can't breathe, I want them back. I want to go back in time to Saturday so I can warn them to check their insulin, eat right, and get some rest. I want to sit up through the night watching them sleep so I will be able to interject myself between them and Death as he walks through the door draped in dark robes and armed with a scythe. If I could have been there, I know the signs, I am trained to see and understand the signs of low blood sugar. I am trained in what to do to fend off diabetic issues. If I could just turn back time a few days. I don't think that is asking too much to save the blithe spirit of my friend. I am trying to find inspiration in all of this, knowing that is what they would want.
    Funny, my use of the term "blithe spirit" came without thinking, and just to make sure I wasn't delusional I double checked the definition and this is what it said: Joyous, merry, or happy in disposition: glad; cheerful. "Everyone loved them for their blithe spirit."

 And to research a little deeper, the term "blithe spirit" comes from a Shelley poem titled "To A Skylark." Fitting for our poet, Bryony.
This is what one university English professor writes:  "The word "blithe" is an Old English word literally meaning 'carefree, happy and lighthearted.'
"Spirit" of course would mean 'an incorporeal supernatural being.'
(quite fitting for our Bryony, I think.)
Shelley begins his poem by saluting and greeting the skylark by calling it a "blithe spirit," because the skylark is a bird which is rarely visible and only its melodious song is heard by people. The sweet song of the skylark reveals to Shelley that unlike ordinary mortals like himself it is absolutely carefree." (again, more fitting than I might have anticipated.)
    I won't say my friend was carefree, they had more than their fair share of the burdens of life, and understood all too well how harsh a place the world could be. But it was how they chose to live that makes me think that they reveal to ordinary mortals like myself that they were, if not carefree, they were free. They chose freedom to live life as they wished, flying in the face of ordinary restraints. So, here I am, taking inspiration. Finding appropriate symbolism in a chance phrase. I want and need there to be some meaning behind all of this. So, I choose, at this moment, to think of my friend, a blithe spirit, a carefree, merry, joyous Skylark singing their song for all to hear, though rarely seen, Fly my friend.

Monday, September 12, 2016


    I lost a friend Saturday night. I didn't find out until late Sunday, when I was cold, tired, and hungry after spending the better part of 5 hours at a Life Flight landing zone waiting for a patient to arrive. I got home, heated a can of ravioli (Annie's organic cheese ravioli in a non-BPA lined can... it still tasted like canned ravioli), and slumped at my computer to veg out while eating mindlessly. Right there, in my Facebook feed, "Passed in the night from complications of diabetes." Let me put you straight, this was a vibrant, sparklingly incandescent person who knew of their health issues and was very conscientious. There had not been previous episodes or incidents. This came out of the blue like sucker punch. Only 33 years old. Loved and lusted for. Likely envied for their quick mind, wicked wit, and poetry skills that I have watched blossom over the last 6 years or so. I remember dancing at the E Club, hot and sweaty, singing loudly along with 4 Non-Blondes to "What's Going On." Every since, I have thought of them every time I heard that song. Now it will be a song to bring a touch of tears to my eyes.
    Life has taken on a surreal quality in the 22 hours since I read those words. I keep expecting to hear that it is some huge and horrible mistake. Oddly enough, I spent the better part of yesterday morning working on their tiny house, which is really just a shell with the interior barely roughed in. I have been doing repairs, and had been given free rein to take over the construction and make it liveable space. I sat on the bed frame, with a cup of coffee at my elbow, and made up a long list of the projects I hoped to complete over the winter. I had planned to text them the list, knowing how excited they would be. Going out on a long medical rescue had kept me from sending the text. I am relieved, on one hand, since I would have been texting to the ether. I am also saddened, wanting to think that they would have gotten the text anyway. Oh well, hindsight.
    I haven't cried yet. I think it is because I still don't really believe they are gone. There is a monthly poetry gathering later this week that they were an organizer for, that is now being turned into a memorial and remembrance. Funny, I just remembered, I was at Queer Poetry Night the very first time they stepped up to the mike to publicly read one of their poems. It was beautiful, funny, sexy. They were both confident and shy, and altogether charming. It was at the beginning of their blossoming, changing from small town misfit to big city inspiration and rabble rouser.
    I watched them grow and change, and felt a certain envy for the way they had come into their own. Being their own damned self with every fiber of their being. Okay, now the tears come, in a torrent. The world lost a beautiful, unique, inspiring, intelligent, hilarious, ludicrous, loud, charming, sensitive, extroverted introvert. We lost a spirit that could not be dimmed despite having been given a rough road to travel. And travel it they did, not merely traveled but paraded, stomped, danced, skipped, and cartwheeled. I lost a friend who I could trust with my deepest secrets, and who made me laugh, feel less like a hermit, and who made me want to sit up late talking of all things and nothing. We shared victories and losses, dreams and delusions, fantasies and reality. I thought we had all the time in the world.