Life is full of goodbyes, so many of them. Too many.
When I was a young idealist, I thought anything was doable, was possible. You could help anyone who wanted to be helped.
Now that I’m older, I realize how impossible that all is. It would be wonderful indeed if, to paraphrase Lennon and McCartney, all you needed was love, but sometimes love just isn’t enough.
I lost a friend today. She wasn’t a close friend and hadn’t been for a while. Maybe ever. The truth is I had grown uncomfortable around her over the years.*
*For the purposes of this blog and to protect her family, I’ll call my late friend, Meghan.
Meghan suffered cruel storms inside her head. Through the years the suffering grew worse and was so painful to watch that friends and acquaintances began to keep her at a distance. I admit I was one of those people. I didn’t know how to help Meghan; her troubles were like a whirlwind that threatened to swallow up anyone who came too close. The last time I talked to her she was in a psychiatric unit, desperate to get out. She’d attempted suicide and survived but the terrible injuries she endured as a result only deepened her depression. A hopelessness settled in and stayed.
There had been better times. Times when Meghan danced to her beloved jazz music and spoke with delight about her passion for the humanities. She had a keen eye and always had something original to say about a painting, a sculpture or a film. But as the better days faded away, it seemed as if her big, kind heart was just too heavy for her to carry. The pain seized control and Meghan’s speech grew staccato, like rapid bullet fire, her thoughts racing so quickly ahead she could barely keep up. Meghan’s life had become a burden to her, not a gift.
And so, she’s gone. It’s too easy, too convenient to say she’s at peace now. But I do. I hope Meghan’s found the quiet her mind never gave her in this living world. But I’m just so sad she had to go through all she did to get it.