Death, be not proud
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.


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The picture that you see above is remarkable, and here’s why.  I went to see an old blues singer the other night.  As I was walking out of the venue toward the car, I whispered, “SB, if you’re ok, please give me a sign.  Then, I stepped in front of a pitch black shop window.  It had a motion detector.  As I stepped in front of it, the lights came on, and that is what I saw.  I immediately pulled out my phone and began taking photos.

I lost my closest woman friend in this past week.  I had known the call would come eventually, but when it did, it was still as shocking and sad as if I hadn’t known.   Feeling numb and a little lost today.  Then, sad, beyond measure.  A little relieved that she is out of the hell she had created, and the hell that others created for her. The autopsy results aren’t back yet, but we all know that if she wasn’t murdered, she took her own life.  She was a beautiful mess.

We all grieve differently.  Don’t we?  I’ve been quiet.  Introspective.  I’ve been playing my guitar a lot…singing.  I’ve been dancing, and going out to hear live music.  I’ve been outdoors a lot.  Running.  Crying.  Laughing.   Maybe I’m the mess…and not feeling so beautiful today, with these tear-streaked cheeks and bloodshot eyes.

I had known her since she was 6 years old.  My friend, Sandy and I would remark about what an adorable child she was when the first grader would get on the school bus in the mornings….dark blonde curly hair…huge brown eyes, dressed in her little cowboy boots and a dress.  I knew her for her entire life. She was 8 years younger than I.

Later in life, she became a member of my family, and so she remained for the rest of her life.  Her natal family rejected her and treated her as though she had no value.  Even one of my own talked about her like she was scum of the earth.  But she wasn’t.  Those two developed a bit of a relationship at the end, but my friend was a junkie, and she was seeking money.  She would have said or done anything for it. I know that more than I’ve ever known anything.

My friend was the most intelligent person I have ever known….but she made some bad, bad decisions.  She was driven by emotional pain and depression.  It was overwhelming.  She could not control it….and she couldn’t stop doing drugs.  I had tried in vain, to get her into a rehab program, to get her into a therapy that would really help her.  She did see a therapist, but only for the drugs.  She lived for the drugs….but I refused to give up on her. I always believed in the true person that was hiding under that facade.

I had watched her go downhill over the last decade or longer, as she turned more to chemical relief of her emotional pain, which worsened over time.  It began when her brother was killed by a drunk driver.  Then, after her mother died of cancer, she just didn’t care any more.  She stopped taking care of herself at all. Although I had not given up, I had let go. I had accepted the fact that I would get a call one day, telling me of her death.  My daughter was the one who made it.  My daughter loved her Aunt with all her heart.  She is taking this quietly, but very hard.

Our friendship was strained at the end because I had tried too hard to persuade her to leave an abusive relationship. I knew it would be the end of her and it was.  But can someone really try “too hard” when they see a person they love self mutilating from the inside out?

With these words….I gently let go, as I listen to  John Mayer singing “Free Falling.”I will create a memorial for her…a work of art in her honor.  I will always love her. My daughter, my husband…all of us.  We will always love her.  We never stopped.  Even when she was her most self-destructive.

She was a beautiful mess.  A kind soul.  Someone who mattered more than she ever knew.  I will make sure Ingrid remembers her.  I have so many stories to share.

She’s free now.  Free falling.  Happy….out there in the universe somewhere.