Tag Archives: friends

Reflections ~ On what friendship means

Ahh, yes. My keyboard and me; working out the hurt, the loss, the discouragement of life, and sometimes the celebrations. Today I look closely at a treasured friendship which ended in tragedy Friday, July 19, 2018. It was the kind of friendship that had seen rather intense events in our lives, and yet had drifted a bit in the last year. I fully acknowledge that drifting was caused by my need for space from something we shared; at least until I could find my way forward. I wish, as we all do, that I could have one more chat, one more I love you, one more cyber hug. This is my tale, my take on friendship.

Stacey Haggard Brewer and I met in the early days of a small publishing company I was involved with. To be quite honest, I don’t recall the specific link that brought us together, but we were instantly comfortable with each other. Stacey contributed to PDMI as an editor as early as the fall of 2013, not long after we had formed the LLC.

As I grew to know her, we began to share the more personal bits of our lives. She was searching at the time, trying to understand several emotions she was experiencing. Within a year or two she lost her father to cancer. The experience unsettled her at levels she was not accustomed to and the two of us grew very close as she talked through her feelings. She was finding it difficult to complete projects, to be motivated, to make decisions. Her search for a satisfying spiritual experience seemed to grow deeper and broadened in its focus. We spent hours in chat talking about our faith, what windows we wished we could open, what it would take to return to the origins of the faith where concern for our fellow man was paramount, rather than how many rules were kept or broken.

Stacey and I also shared writing projects, thoughts, dreams, troubled moments, and bits of joy. We worked together on several projects, one of which was an article I wrote which was published in the Eastern Iowa Review. The piece was accepted without change or edit – a testament to Stacey’s skill and kind advice.

Through the years I listened as she dithered over life changing decisions. I was sometimes impatient, but still willing to listen. She was traveling paths I had already journeyed; and I was prepared to share my experience – however deeply I had buried those years in my mind and heart. She was one of a very small circle of friends who walked with me through the final months of my husband’s dementia. She surrounded me with love as I watched him deteriorate more rapidly each day.

As our publishing venture began to unwind, some of the hard business decisions made me feel isolated from those that I had worked with. Somehow, Stacey understood, and she gave me space. It was one of the hardest decisions I have faced, but it was also obvious that I needed to withdraw myself and my support. Again, Stacey understood my pain and had only recently begun to reach out and reignite the more frequent exchanges that we had so often depended on.

I received the news when I returned home from work on Friday. A private message written by a mutual friend who did not want me slammed with some announcement blasted through Facebook without warning. Just as she did, I checked for the story – it was just too unbelievable to accept without question. Once I knew for sure I contacted a few individuals and then created a chat group so I could grab those who I knew would suffer from the loss. Then a bit of Stacey-magic was recreated. People that don’t often share these days came together to express their pain, their love, their community. To express how tight the bond between us was, even if we had never physically met. Whatever our joint adventure into the publishing world created, the most critical piece is mutual respect and a choice to care. That was Stacey, an unrelenting optimist and believer in the humanity of mankind. She held firm to the belief that if we could just learn how much alike we were, we could and would learn to thrive together.

This blog of hers pretty much says it all. https://staceyhaggardbrewer.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/iamlove/

There are many in our author group that worked with her on so many projects, or that beta read her pieces. We will be gathering all those pieces together and see if we can compile some of the magic that was Stacey. It will take a while, but I think we could all use the process, a way to remember a very special lady. Stacey Haggard Brewer: a writer, a photographer, an artist, an editor, an explorer… a friend.

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“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“He thought about this for a second. “True. But if you never really make friends, you probably don’t have anyone to be your 2 a.m. Which would kind of suck.”
I just looked at him as he stirred his soup, carrots spinning in the liquid. “Your what?”
“Two a.m.” He swallowed, then said, “You know. The person you can call at two a.m. and, no matter what, you can count on them. Even if they’re asleep or it’s cold or you need to be bailed out of jail…they’ll come for you. It’s, like, the highest level of friendship.” — Sarah Dessen (What Happened to Goodbye)

“The very condition of having Friends is that we should want something else besides Friends. Where the truthful answer to the question “Do you see the same truth?” would be “I see nothing and I don’t care about the truth; I only want a Friend,” no Friendship can arise – though Affection of course may. There would be nothing for the Friendship to be about; and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.” — C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

We love you, Stacey. You were an incredible fellow traveler with much to share.

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Filed under Humanties for the Unbound Mind, Personal Journeys

Reflections ~ Back into the Rising Sun

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I’ve just returned from a brief trip to a bit of my past. For ten years I lived in Plains, Montana. A tiny town of 1,065 in a county that holds 11,365. I’m pretty sure someone counted a few cows. It is a beautiful place that changes slowly, and in some ways not at all. Other than a few drive-throughs, I haven’t been there for 14 years.

My primary reason for going was to see my mother. A lady who has twice beaten cancer, only to find it sneaking back up on her. In typical stoic fashion, she is dealing with the consequence in a cheerful, “today is a good day” manner. Her attitude does much to show others the world is a better place when you do what you can, but accept the unchangeable with grace.

The trip served other purposes, too. Plains is where I met my husband. It is where dreams were born and dreams died. The Interstate Highway between Seattle metro and Plains (I-90) is littered with places that were part of bringing my husband and me together. We both traveled that road often enough. All those stopping places, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Tokio, Four Lakes, Naughty Ladies Park (private joke based on a brief meeting with a theatrical group), Two Mile Road, St. Regis. I’m sure there are others.

The drive also consists of three passes, Snoqualmie, 4th of July, and Look Out. The last of which nearly cost me my future husband when he totaled his T-Bird on a sheet of black ice. The next morning I rescued him in Kellogg. Memories – dancing through my mind as I drove into the rising sun. I took my time, not pushing to cover miles, visiting moments long buried in the rush of life.

When I arrived a storm moved in. At first it was only wind – scary in the heart of a fire season. Breathing was not all that comfortable without air filtered through air conditioners. But then rain came, too. Not enough, but things did cool down – and the lights went out. Mini panic ensued until I (with the help of her ever watchful caregiver) was sure Mum’s oxygen was covered. It was nearly midnight when power returned – and stayed on, and her condenser was operational. The storm did, however, clear the air and the next day sported beautiful, blue Montana skies.

I took a drive to visit a hillside near a lot my husband once owned and from where I could see the property that had been my home. The road was overgrown and not really passable. Again caught in the wrong footwear, I couldn’t really hike it, either. I think, perhaps, the goodbyes I said years ago were meant to be final. At least now I know that.

I visited a friend who had lost her husband a year ago. She did not know about Doug’s illness and death. The visit became much harder than I had anticipated. She, however, is moving on and will remarry soon. I am truly happy for her.

Then there was a dear friend who has been near to both Doug and me for many years. A person who has helped us both in business and personally and seems forever faithful. Dinner was a real opportunity to unwind and enjoy conversation I had sorely missed.

I stayed in the guest house of a client and friend that has followed me wherever I went in the world. Then, there is the lady who cares for my mother with genuine love and consideration.

Yes, it was an important trip, a trip to touch that place I remembered and see if it was still there. It is. Now it is my past. I don’t belong there anymore. It has moved away by remaining the same-but changing. I will always love those hills and will find pleasure in visiting when the need or opportunity presents itself. Sometimes moving forward requires the active pursuit of sorting through the past to find the bits from which to build the future.

There is a beautiful song by Anne Murray called, You Needed Me. When I once told a friend I had found the hero of all my favorite love songs – this was one of them – still is.

“You gave me strength to stand alone again/to face the world out on my own again”

That strength is only one of his lasting gifts to me. There is a tomorrow and I intend to pursue it.

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Filed under Personal Journeys