HOLD ME CLOSE;
NEVER LET ME GO
19 August 2002
It's been a day to come in touch--yet again--with the fragility of life. A day of
powerful emotions and sad news from friends of ours.
The plan had been to try to get some biking done with Olivia this weekend. However, due
to an injury she had a year and a half ago (when some idiot in a car hit her while she was
riding her bike, sending her careening over the handlebars, breaking one wrist and
powdering the opposite elbow), her ability to bike kind of waxes and wanes. This was a
waning week and she's having a difficult time coping with the pain. Biking was out.
But I went down there anyway, visited for a bit, and then took off by bike to visit
another friend who also lives in Alameda, and whom I had not seen since before the first
of the year. In the interim, I have dropped 73 lbs and she has dropped 45 and we spent
time telling each other how great we look and swapping WeightWatchers stories.
But there was also the tale of her partner, who is facing brain surgery in two weeks
for a tumor which is pressing on her auditory nerve and on the nerve which controls
balance on one side of her body. The tumor has already caused irreparable damage to the
auditory nerve and she has permanently lost the hearing on one side.
The surgery will involve boring holes in her skull, removing the tumor in what they
hope will be an uncomplicated procedure, closing up the holes with plugs of tissue from
her abdomen, and then a 5-7 day hospital stay before she comes home to learn how to
balance all over again.
When our visit was finished, I went for a long bike ride alone. Back to Bay Farm Island
by myself this time, my body feeling good to be working out, taking the hills at a high
gear, pushing myself, sweating, and feeling like I'd accomplished something.
As I rode along, I thought about life and how precious are our relationships with the
special people in our lives--and how easily those relationships can be shattered when
something unexpected--like a bike accident, or a tumor, or something else--happens.
I packed up the bike and drove home and when I arrived, there was an e-mail from Ned
letting me know that the daughter of good friends of ours had committed suicide. He had no
details--and the parents have recently moved, so I do not have their address or phone
number (and am not even sure which city they live in now, since they have changed states).
I ache for them. This is a family which has already endured significant tragedy in the
past but things seemed to be going so well for everyone in the family. I'd say "I
can't imagine the pain they are going through," but unfortunately I can.
I want to gather everybody I love in my arms, wrap them in bubble wrap, and never let
But unfortunately I know life doesn't work that way.
I hate that part.