She’s more than she was to me.
I didn’t know what to expect last Saturday. Two years ago, just before she fell ill, I had lunch with my friend Carmen. We hadn’t seen each other for decades of life, relationships, and changes. Now she’s gone. She’s more than she was to me, so, on Saturday, a sea of unfamiliar faces was not a surprise.
I found one former mutual colleague at the memorial gathering. We tippy-toed over the unfamiliar faces looking for others we knew.
“I really thought I’d see… and maybe even…”
“Oh, I didn’t tell you? She died last month.”
“Dang.” I was genuinely sad, but I sensed it so I said it, “She never liked me.”
It wasn’t news. Mutual friends, including Carmen, often told me, “I don’t understand why she doesn’t like you.”
We never will.
Over the decades, it came up from time to time. Like Carmen, this mutual friend was strongly influential in my life.
After the memorial service, I looked up her obit and Facebook.
She’s more than how she was to me.
Like all of us, she’s multi-faceted.
I’m not putting a veneer or pink lenses over the moments I shared with her. They were hard, career-bending hard, and I probably didn’t come round to it wasn’t about me for a full decade. Yet, I am grateful for her. She was the straw that tipped me away from Academia and into publishing.
I’m also grateful that she is more than what she was to me.
There was a collision of sorts in my heart at this memorial gathering: two brilliant and strong women who impacted my education and career were gone.
Later that day, I spent good energy remembering these two accomplished women. I read the obits and the tributes for both.
I’m reminded that we’re all more than one relationship, more than a handful of moments, more than our mistakes, and sometimes less than our brilliance. Our words, gestures, actions, and personality… a round of robins scattering from the oak across the infinite sky.
I wish I could tell both women “Thank you,” let both of them know that I admired their work and efforts, and share with them that I’m better for having had them in my life.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022
Funeral rites are strange intersections — the thoughts and memories of the still living mixed with the eternal quiet of those who passed. Can’t help wonder what happens with all these emotions when people die.
They know, Pennie.
It’s so incredibly difficult, when you’ve been hurt by someone, to see past the hurt and acknowledge who else they possibly could be. But you’ve reminded me to make that effort before it’s too late.
That is the magic…knowing & acknowledging how every soul we have crossed paths has enriched our lives in some way, even the most broken relationships can deepen and enrich.