Emotions come like musical chairs.
The music stops; I sit. On this chair, I find acceptance. She is gone. I accept. What a simple chair this is; it takes me in like water. You know the kind? When you can walk in and float in an instant without a moment's shiver. This chair feels like no chair and everywhere. It feels serene, like floating. It is beautiful. This chair is where I think my friend is.
Music starts; I move. Music stops; I sit. Here, this chair feels harder. This chair has prickly bits. This chair says, "If only." If only I had called more, written more, been anywhere near at all, instead of all the way across this impossible sea. If only there'd been more time, or more…anything. Regret and longing prick like the sharp tags on the back of a shirt. Useless wishes scrape at me and I start to hurt.
Music starts; I move. Music stops.
This chair. Feels bottomless. In this chair I sit and wail like a lost child: I just want her to come back! I don't want this! This chair has me weeping and broken. This chair is no help to me or her at all. But it's one of the chairs I come to, one of the chairs I sit in as this hard song plays.
Another chair comes. This one comes with stories. In this chair, my husband and I talk about his last dinner with Jennifer and Dennis and their boy, Little J. How Jennifer spoke of the literacy projects she was involved in. How they ate pizza. How Jennifer talked about my blog, and how Little J hugged my husband good night. In this chair, I think of the first time I saw Jennifer, when she had just started dating my friend Dennis. I remember being blown away by how beautiful she was. Then other stories come and speak in turn and one by one they make me smile.
And then, here I am in the peaceful chair again. This time, the chair brings a sense of light, too. A pin point of it, bright and fine. I feel my friend. Here, here with me, is her beautiful spirit.
Here she is. Helping me through the peace, the wishing, the stories, the weeping. All of it.
Today, is Jennifer's memorial service.
Her husband and beautiful little boy will join with dear family and friends to celebrate and honour an incredible woman, mother, partner, daughter, sister, friend. My incredible friend. An incredible friend to so many.
My little family can't be there because we are here. Being here seems ridiculous. Not nearly as ridiculous as the whole idea of her not being. Jennifer knew it was ridiculous and yet, she accepted it, too. Somehow, she found a kind of peace people dream of.
I think of that peace, and it comes, sometimes. It makes me feel…like I'm floating.
In this chair…I feel like she's right here, with me. And everywhere else at once, too, with everyone who loved her. She is holding us together. She is in the stories I think of, the tributes I read on her Facebook page and on her blog. She is in the words her loved ones have told and will tell each other. She is in the memories we have and will keep. She is in the light I will see in the morning tomorrow, when I wake.