Monday, July 21, 2008

A Talk With An Old Friend

I had a nice talk with a dear friend of mine today. We go 'way back to our younger days of going to discos and clubs and making candlelit dinners for ourselves just because we deserved it! We dyed each other's hair, made homemade face creams, did facials while listening to music and gossiping. Her apartment was my haven during a time is of severe grief in which I suffered a severe nervous breakdown. The truth is I owe her my life for she was my "mother hen".

She hasn't changed much through the years either. She is as youthful as ever and no, I will NOT say her age other than she is a Michelle Pfeiffer look alike. My daughter and her son are both grown and, true to the type of mothers we were (for better or worse), they each as the saying goes march to their own drums. In my daughter's case, she makes her own drums!

Life gave each of us hardships that we wondered how we endured, we each lost beloveds and today, as in my younger days, I listened to her wisdom. We were talking about the whys of life. Why does one person suffer recurring bouts of cancer while another cannot survive one. Why do some people's lives seem only peppered with sorrow while others meet sorrow on their journey over and over again.

She said, "We will go crazy if we analyze why this and why that. Sometimes we have to accept that this is how life is." (She is a hospice Christian Chaplain and sees death and dying everyday) Recently she helped an elderly friend get into a nursing home near her home so she can look over her. She, like I, wonder (or perhaps fear) what our old age will be like. "I look at Betty (our friend) and realize that time is too short to waste on worrying. This is the time for laughter and to not let anything bother you. We each have to find a way to just accept and not waste our lives in worry and fear and death will come for all of us anyway. I want to just live my life to the fullest.

I, like so many other people, sometimes languish in the shadow of past memories. Beyond nostalgia, it is a place of loss and missed opportunities. Recently I went through a period of mourning my losses over the years and those who have read my writings know they have been many. The hardest part of moving forward from personal loss is the guilt of moving forward. It is as if moving forward is somehow a betrayal, somehow we feel deep down inside that it is wrong to stop grieving. But we never stop grieving. It just takes on a different persona in the guise of "adjusting". There is nothing wrong with moments of sadness for what was or what wasn't. The problem becomes how can we move forward joyfully?

I began to work myself through this period by getting up very early every morning and having my coffee and barn chores done early. I began exercising more and redecorated the living room with my husband. These are all steps to moving forward when stuck in a mental space we want to get out of.

Talking to old friends who knew you way back when one week you were a blond, the next a red head helps too. Remembering the fun reignites the feeling and the brain cannot tell a real experience from a remembered or imagined one so recalling laughter uplifts in the present which is another step in moving forward.

We had our conversation much earlier in the day and when I hung up I had no idea our heart to heart would become my blog today. Writers are funny that way. It can be a picture or a song or a cow that brings forth some tidbit of writing but today it was reconnecting with a dear friend.

We spoke of getting together with the gaggle of gals we used to hang out with in a hotel room with booze, pajamas and food and just laughing about the old days. Oh, and we won't cook our meal. We've earned the right to be served!

Moving forward is what I wrote about today. You have read the blog already. In Her Godmother, the main character struggles to move forward while having to face her father's alcoholism. Her Godmother shows how there is everyday magic that can heal. Life is the same way. Sometimes the magic in a talk with an old friend...

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