This is HARD
I’ve commented on the links between birth and death before, but here’s a new one. Getting the news that my best friend had gone into labor was oddly reminiscent of the night my father died. As on that night, my husband was out of town and I was feeling wildly emotional. I was looking through my photo albums and reliving all the things PBF and I have been through together. I have one whole album devoted to our trips to the goth clubs of San Francisco. And because our fields overlap, we’ve traveled together to conferences many times–Canada, Spain, Poland, Italy, various places in the US… I met my husband at her wedding. (The photo below is from the wedding–there happened to be a black and white photo booth in the place where she got married. I figure it’s overexposed enough that no one could possibly recognize her [on the left], but if you happen to know her, um…don’t rat me out.) A few years later, her husband was the officiant at my wedding.
So there I was, thinking about how it’s totally Bunny + PBF 4 evah, and I got her text. Just like the night I got the phone call telling me my father had died, I was absolutely overwhelmed with the most complicated brew of emotion. Just like that night, the most noticeable component was grief. I feel like it has two distinct flavors, though. The first stems from my situation, my fear that I’ll never have this experience. The sense of being left behind because she’s gone somewhere I may never be able to follow. The misery of watching life pass by while I stand still. But the second stems from the loss of our friendship as it was. I know I have a big reaction to major transitions both in my own life and the lives of those around me, so it’s partly just that I don’t like change and get quite upset when it happens. But I also had an acute sense that while I may fantasize about hanging out with them and being part of their lives, they are now a family in an all new way, and I am an outsider in an all new way.
When my father died, I also felt happiness. He’d been suffering, and I was able to feel joy in the thought of his release, and in the recollection of his amazing life. I bet there’s a lot of joy to come if I can accept this change and adapt to my new role. I’m just a bit broken at the moment.