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Today in My History

2000:  A Friend Indeed
Fire Drill
Fat Redux
Finding Fotolog
Fahrenheit 911
Farewell, Eddie
Getting to Know You
On Naming Puppies
   The "Zero Years"

2009:   Brunch with Bri

Same Job, New Stage
(feature story)
Crazy for You

Books Read in 2010
Updated: 7/7
Madonnas of Leningrad"
"7th Heaven"

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10)

And Then I Ate


Cossack Show from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

On You Tube

Look at these Videos

Mitzi Gaynor said WHAT?

Spirit of '43
Ned's Video for Bri's 2nd birthday
No You Can't (John Boehner)
Jim Brochu closes NASDAQ
Stupid, Callous, Homophobic, Hateful Legislation

New on My flickr_logo.gif (1441 bytes)

Tallinn, Estonia

The Hermitage
The Catherine Palace (Pushkin)
Kizhi Island
Food on the Trip

Mirror Site for RSS Feed
Airy Persiflage

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13 July 2010

I first became aware of the "little deaths" after the death of my friend Gilbert (ironically, 25 years ago Wednesday...July is apparently a bad [or good, depending on your perspective] month for death in my circle of friends).

When someone significant in your life dies, there is that immediate shock, the huge hole that is left in your life, the "end" that shuts a big door.  All those things that we recognize as coming with a death.

But we aren't prepared for the "little deaths."   The little deaths keep coming.  It's realizing that the funny thing you just saw on TV that you want to talk to your friend about doesn't mean anything because your friend isn't there to call.  It's realizing that you'll never again go to a favorite place together.  It's finding a funny thing on the internet that you want to send and then realize you have nobody to send it to. 

It takes a long time to get through all the little deaths.   It's when the little deaths stop coming that you really have gotten through the worst of grief when a loved one dies.

My relationship with Diane was much the same as hers with our mutual friend Ann.  There would be periods of heavy interaction, daily e-mails, and sharing lots of stuff...and then there would be periods where we didn't write to or hear from each other for long periods of time. 

We were in one of those "dry spells" when Diane died, so while the news of her death was a big shock, it didn't devastate me the way, say, Michele's death a few years before had.  I'm the biggest crybaby of all time, but it took me a couple of days before I cried about Diane's death. 

I didn't cry until her son-in-law wrote to ask if they could read my journal entry about her at her memorial service.  Then the tears came.

But then the little deaths started.  The first little death came when someone from our Russia trip sent me a power point show with a bunch of beautiful photos.  Interspersed among them was this little dog picture

cutedog.jpg (42972 bytes)

It's nothing special, just a photo like so many that come from people who send out powerpoint shows, but it was the kind of photo I would have sent to Diane.   She loved cute dog and cat pictures.  I occasionally send a picture like this to Peggy, but rarely.  Diane was the person who got them all and I realized that I no longer have someone who would just be tickled to death to see this kind of photo.

Then it hit me that Diane had introduced me to the Skagit County tulip festival.  I went there with her three times, taking my mother with me the last time.  I realized that I would probaby never see the fields of tulips again.   Oh, I could probably beg my friend Mary to let me go with her, but it wouldn't be the same.  The tulip festival was something I only did with Diane.

Today I went and posted all of the food pictures I took on the trip both to Blogger and to Flickr.  It was a project I did for me and the only person I know who would really have enjoyed looking at them was Diane.  But I posted them anyway.  So much food-related stuff is tied up with Diane.  We were both fat.  We both felt guilty about it.   Yet we both loved the same bad foods and laughed about it together.  That is gone now.

Other than Walt, Diane was the only person who really got to know Peggy and she so enjoyed hearing stories about what Peggy is doing in her rescue work with orphaned kangaroos.  There is too much back-story to tell another person.  I've lost a friend that Peggy and I had together.

And Brianna.  How she loved Brianna, though she'd never met her.   After her grandson was born, she was so excited to learn that Tom and Laurel were going to have a baby and she followed every bit of news about Brianna with as much interest as if it were her own granddaughter.  During this recent "dry spell" of e-mails between us, the one thing that could get her to sit down and write was seeing a new picture of Bri and she would never fail to write and tell me what a beautiful little girl she was becoming.  Nobody else ever did that, at least not to the extent that Diane did.

Diane could irritate the heck out of me, but somehow all that has softened with her departure.  What remains is the good stuff that will now no longer be.

So the "little deaths" keep coming and they hit when I least expect them.  In the middle of Richard's party, I realized that I was sitting there in Michele and Richard's house at a party that Michele should have been running, and it was just a few days after Diane's death and it just kind of all hit me unexpectedly.  

The problem with crying jags is that I have one of those faces where it shows for hours afterwards that I've been crying.  Just what you want in the middle of a party, so I wore my dark glasses for the rest of the party, even inside.   It was even better when the nose and glasses came out.  Diane (and Michele!) would have loved it.

nose.jpg (37581 bytes)
(note the red, blotchy skin around my eyes, mouth, and forehead,
hidden nicely by the big nose and glasses)

I can just hear the both of them laughing about that.

I hate little deaths.  I'd rather get it all over with at once, but that's not the way grief goes.  You have to go through all these damn little deaths before you can finally say goodbye.  And when the last little death is gone, you aren't even aware that it's the last one.  You just don't have another one.   And even that is sad.

Today's trip video is about 5+ minutes of excerpts from a fun Cossack show we saw in a tent on the pier alongside the ship the night before we left St. Petersburg.


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