I’ve been avoiding this for three days. I lost a friend the other night and it is time I wrote about it. It isn’t that I was avoiding the hurt of the loss, more about the sheer volume of attempting to even grasp at – never mind understand – mortality. The idea that we have limited time. That we all will one day die.
This in itself isn’t that big of a deal.
But what’s left, is well, what’s left. Did we do enough? Did we tell as many people as we could that we loved them? What a miracle even a single existence is – did we waste it?
The friend I lost was totally healthy just a few years ago when I met her. I was doing a book signing and she came in to report on it for the local paper. She started asking me questions, taping the conversation with her phone. Soon we completely blew off the interview, forgot the tape was running and were lost in gab. Lost in stories, emotions – a huge openness of heart and soul with a complete stranger in unknown cross road of fate.
I wasn’t born in California, but I’ve adopted it as my own. Part of the Californian culture is this weird over-share quality that takes some getting used to. Within twenty minutes, D.M. was telling me about how her husband was murdered. I was shocked, immediately putting it in my “Crazy Californian” pouch and continued on with the conversation like this wasn’t at all a strange thing to share with someone you just met. It had to be that east-coast-filter-of-reservation tripping up again. But it wasn’t. It was D.
When D speaks, it is from the heart. Just meeting her for the first time, I was included in her inner circle. Maybe she wasn’t like that with everyone. Maybe it was my inclusion vibe that made her feel comfortable, but before long we wove a thread of shared consciousness. Even though it was just a chance meeting, we stayed in touch, through local events and online. I considered her a kindred spirit.
I know in her passing that she did all she could do with her time here. A reporter, a writer and a lover of life, D. gave it her all and connected on a level of authenticity that would give most people an anxiety attack. She was all or nothing. I respected that in her from the very first second we met.
It is so funny how things all get grouped in our timeline. This week of her passing, I’ve been working on a few projects, among which are a portrait of the character Groot and a new playlist. One actually inspired the other – the playlist I had been working on was an offshoot from the awesome eclectic soundtrack from Guardians of the Galaxy. Once I started listening to the tracks and comprising my own playlist from it, I started thinking about Groot. The honesty in not being able to speak and only having actions and child-like motivation to comprise a being’s whole existence. The character was an instant favorite of mine, and probably an easy mascot for the film. Groot expressed himself with honest integrity, never waiting for a better moment or over thinking. Authenticity.
D. had the same authenticity and I will forever miss that. So here is the playlist that I was making for D without knowing it. Listening to it on shuffle all week helped cement my thoughts in this post as well as give me my own version of a send off for her.
Thanks D, for everything.
What I am – Eddie Brickell
Free Bird – LS
Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes – LBM
Jump Through the Hoops – T M M B
Float On – Modest Mouse
You Get What You Give – New Radicals
Starfish and Coffee – Prince
Steve McQueen – Sheryl Crow
Don’t Get Me Wrong – The Pretenders
Carnival – Natalie Merchant
Authority Song – JM
My Way – Frank Sinatra
Octopus’s Garden – The Beetles
Where It’s At – Beck
Come and Get Your Love – Redbone
You Might Be Right – BJ
Mental Floss – Jimmie Buffet
You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon
Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong – Spin Doctors
Southside – Moby
Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – MG & TT