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Monday, May 23, 2016

When a close friend dies ......

On Judy's last day, I went to her place, opened the room's window so that she could look out into her garden. I slipped my arm through hers & she softly said "Don't". She has been doing it for days now. Picturing the world without her in it. She was erasing herself, withdrawing , saying good bye, because it seemed like the right thing to do.

Judy said it was a little like being in love with someone who doesn't love you back. The very act that they don't need you makes them a thousand times more desirable & beautiful & the object of our devotion. Sometimes it's the impossibility of a thing that makes it irresistible. And right then, being alive was the thing she was in love with, the thing that didn't care if she was there or not.

Every leaf, every blade of grass, ever bug and pebble was bathed in a new kind of light for her. Every single thing she looked at was breathtakingly, effortlessly, perfectly itself. Even the most ordinary thing she could think of- a pillow, a painting, a letter -was part of the biggest , most persuasive, most extraordinary miracle there is, as solid as a rock & at the same time as fine & breakable as a single strand of hair.

She told me, when you know for certain you are losing a thing, you suddenly see how much you have loved it, & how you ought to have taken better care of it all along.

It was getting dark when she died. She was ready to go. I figured that's what happens when you get close. It's just a step down, no big deal. I hoped so anyway. I hoped she was watching us by then from another place entirely, somewhere quiet & painless & apart. And while I was hoping & holding her hand, she slipped away.

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