Saturday, May 14, 2016

Goodbye, Olivia

My friend Olivia is dead.
She was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.  She fought it but it had spread and, a little while ago, her doctors told her that even if they continued their aggressive treatment, it would only prolong things for five to seven years.  Olivia's mother died from cancer when she was very young.  Her grandmother died from it before Olivia was even born.
Olivia decided to stop the treatments.
She tidied up her life and, earlier this week, went into hospice care.  I wanted to see her, but she refused.  She said she didn't want anyone to visit because she didn't want them to remember her as she was then, but as they used to know her.
This evening, when I checked my e-mail, I learned that Olivia had died this afternoon.  She had gone to sleep early this morning and never woken up.
My friend is dead.
And even after she's gone, she's still managing things.  Still tidying up.
There was a poem, included with the e-mail, picked out by Olivia.

Look For Me In Rainbows
Time for me to go now, I won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, way up in the sky.
In the morning sunrise when all the world is new,
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Time for me to leave you, I won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, high up in the sky.
In the evening sunset, when all the world is through,
Just look for me and love me, and I'll be close to you.

It won't be forever, the day will come and then
My loving arms will hold you, when we meet again.

Time for us to part now, we won't say goodbye;
Look for me in rainbows, shining in the sky.
Every waking moment, and all your whole life through
Just look for me and love me, as you know I loved you.

Just wish me to be near you,
And I'll be there with you.

The poem didn't really sound like Olivia until I did some research and found out it's not a poem. They're the lyrics of a song, written by a woman named Vicki Brown who died of breast cancer back in '91.  Then, it made perfect sense.
But my friend is still gone.
That does not make sense.
I will miss you, Olivia. You were smart and honest, infuriating as hell and stubborn as an old mule. But I remember your laugh, and the way you'd slump against my shoulder at the 9:30 Club and the time we tried to date but we both realized what a wreck that would be so we settled on being good friends.
And now you're gone.
And the world makes a little less sense to me.
A lot of people might be wondering why I'm writing about this in this blog. This blog deals mostly with me bitching about my inability to write anything good and the minutia of my life. Stuff that probably doesn't really matter to anyone but me and the chronically bored.
But I'm writing about this because I have something important to say.  I'm writing this because I need to get the words out, to help process the grief.
I was fortunate enough to have this wonderful person in my life. And I told her that I loved her before she slipped away.
Tell the precious people in your lives that you love them.  Tell your parents and your aunts and pets and boyfriends or whoever.  Tell them that you love them.  Because there comes a point where you won't be able to tell them that anymore, because they'll be gone.  You'll grieve, like I'm doing now, and you'll regret not being able to tell them again.  But you'll regret it even more if you don't tell them in the first place.
Goodbye, Olivia. You were my friend. I loved you. I'll miss you. And, hopefully, some day, I'll see you again.  Until then, sweetheart, I'll think of you when I see rainbows.

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