We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the Circle Game
~ Joni Mitchell
During my time here in Puerto Rico, I have lost one of my oldest and dearest friends to cancer.
Before I came here for the winter we had one last, glorious dinner date. Just the two of us in a little Italian restaurant in my neighborhood. That night, with a belly full of bread, I thought to myself (as I often did in the few months prior) about how lucky I was that my friend had survived breast cancer. She was in full remission and she beat it. This spring we would ride bikes. We would hang out in my van. We would have long rambling conversations. We would do everything we always did.
But then the migraines started. And then how quickly she was sick again. She was in the hospital for a long time, then home with family.
We had one last phone call. She cried a little and I tried to be positive. We did not talk about the possibility of death but I knew from the sound of her voice that she was scared and sad and that she knew things were grim. We talked about her coming to PR for a visit. The last thing I told her was that I loved her.
Per family request (and in the end we learned per Amy's request), there would be no visitors allowed once she was home. She wanted just one particular friend with her until the end. For me, that friend was a lifeline to Amy and in my eyes and at least a few others, she was an absolute angel.
Amy did not want people coming to say goodbye. But we all said goodbye in our own way.
And before long, she was gone.
Though I am looking forward to home, I am not looking forward to the hard reality of life at home without Amy.
Amy was one of the most generous, genuine, kind-hearted souls that I may ever have had the chance to know. We were friends for two and a half decades.
Where did the time go? It went to bicycle rides, dinner dates, walks in the woods and long, long talks. Talks involving BIG questions about life, love, sex, art, being a good person, being a bad person, doing the right thing. There were laughs and tears and of course that comfort of being with someone who knows and loves you.
The night of our last dinner date Amy borrowed a pair of my shoes because she was wearing vintage kicks that were not practical for walking around town. She accidentally left them at my house and wore mine home.
When I return, we will scatter her ashes at Walden Pond. I will try on her shoes and walk around in them for a bit. I will keep them in a special place.
All of these thoughts, memories, emotions. These things that I am trying to organize neatly into one little blog post. It is an impossible feat. But I will always lovingly look behind from where we came knowing we can never go back and cherishing every moment that I remember something funny about her or feel her presence.
In the beginning, middle, end, and back to the beginning again, love, memories and hope is all we have.