Tag Archives: friendship

She’s home


I had that dream I always dream sometime after someone I know dies – the dream that tells me they are moving on. Sometimes it is only a matter of a few weeks until they are ready to go. Others take months.

I dreamed of Lisa. I believe it’s been three and a half months. She’s ready now. In my dream, she was alive again, returned from the dead. Well, not really. Apparently, we’d all been mistaken and she’d never really been dead to begin with. I knew that this would happen again, but it’s alright because the possibility of coming back yet again is always there.

She was wearing a plain dress with a skirt that would be good for twirling around. I hugged her, hoping she could forgive me for some transgression, and I was sorry I could not go with her.

I think of her each time I go to the beach, as though all oceans are connected, as though somehow she will come floating in towards me on the next wave.

I realize now that I’d been looking forward to being able to be friends with her instead of colleagues. I feel disappointed for myself that she died before the layoff happened. I miss her 🙁

Sent from my Nokia N97

a Valentine essay

In response to an exchange between two friends who found themselves at odds with their partners on Valentine’s Day, I offered the following thoughts:

+++++

Mah sistas, you are onto something there. I am convinced that we are not supposed to be living with men, and we do them a great disservice by expecting more from them than they are capable of providing. Instead, we are supposed to be living under the conditions that existed in hunter-gatherer societies. Women lived in multi-generational, co-operative dwellings with their offspring. Some of them went out to hunt and gather (worked outside of the home) while others remained in the dwelling to care for the kids (SAHMs). No one had any guilt about whichever role they chose, and no one felt taken for granted. No hunter/gatherer ever had to come home and start a whole other 8 hour job over again. There were plenty of lactating women around, so no one ever had to exhaust themselves getting up in the middle of the night if they didn’t want to. Each child had a multitude of mothers to care for them, dote upon them and raise them right. In short, it worked just swell.

Occasionally, a cave man would drop by with a side of bison, thwack it on the dwelling floor, pound his chest and declare, “Me Thor! Me bring meat! Me want sex!”.

The cooperative would evaluate the situation and determine whether or not there was interest in Thor’s, um, meat. Their level of approval and interest would make itself evident approximately nine months later.

Other than these occasional and very necessary interruptions, the women held no illusions about the opposite gender, preferring to remain with the sure thing, the thing that worked – themselves and each other, there in the multi-generational, all-women-and-children dwelling.

This arrangement served womankind well for millenia, until the Thors of the world banded together to invent patriarchy, the chief purpose of which was to sell the women a bill of goods about another illusory invention of theirs – romance. See, they had fond memories of their childhoods amongst the women, and wanted to be doted upon and cared for once more, but needed to fabricate just the right lie that would lure the women into believing that humans are a pair-bonding species. (NOTE: biologically speaking – we’re NOT!). For whatever reason, their duplicitous plot worked, and here we are – expecting things of them that were either promised or implied, but which are seldom delivered. I know not why such a conquest was successful, considering how happy we all were in the multi-generational dwelling. Whatever could it have been that altered our thinking thus?

I suspect the use of chocolate was involved.

yeah, so I think you should both ditch your husbands and go live together in a cooperative. If one of them brings you a side of bison on occasion, and the meat is judged to be acceptable… well, I trust you both know what to do!

Gloria, 1927-2006

Originally published in the online guest book memorializing Gloria, who left us too soon on January 15th 2006.

I guess everyone writes when they are ready. And I guess I’m ready now.

As Steven pointed out, this is an impossible task. These are only words, and words can never hope to describe the life-altering influence of one woman on so many people. On me.

Studying with Gloria was an accident. Presented with a list of teachers by the college I was attending, I simply chose the one closest to where I was living at the time. I was 21 years old, and I was nervous. I’d been waiting my whole life to take voice lessons. What if I found out I actually couldn’t sing, after all? And what if she was mean about it?

I arrived a bit early, and Gloria still had a student in the studio. Grandma Rose let me in (that was the first and last time I knocked – thereafter, I just came on in, like everyone else did). I sat on a chair in the kitchen, waiting my turn, feeling sort of like a fraud, when I began to hear some suspicious sounds coming from under the kitchen table. I peeked under the tablecloth, and the nerves went out the window. A box of puppies! I think one of them was probably Pinkerton, and another might have been Miss Liu. At any rate, a woman who kept a whole box of puppies under the kitchen table couldn’t possibly be all that scary.

Up until this day, I’d been laboring under the awful misconception that I wasn’t actually good at or capable of… anything. At all. Won’t go into the reasons for that here, but suffice it to say that early on in life, I’d had a sneaking suspicion that I could sing, but I was actively discouraged from pursuing it, or even thinking that it was true. Well, now I was going to find out whether or not I had been delusional, after all.

As that first lesson progressed, I stood before her, incredulous at what she was pulling out of me. What had been locked inside, denied light and encouragement, came pouring out, easily and unobstructed, to bask in all the warmth and glory of her beaming approval. She validated the existence of my giftedness – validated ME. Not to give in to hyperbole, but in those first 60 minutes, she pretty much saved my life. Really.

Being able to sing well has been the foundation upon which all faith and confidence in myself has been built – things which were crucial to the successes I’ve had both within and outside of the musical world. The bonus was, not only could I sing well, and believe in my own abilities, but I had a friend, too. She cared about me. She listened when I was tormented, she cried when I was sick, she swallowed her own hurt feelings and understood when I was confused, and she supported me when I made decisions that meant I’d be doing a lot less singing. Her support and love were shockingly unconditional. I knew her for all of my adult life, 24 years (we would have had our “25th anniversary” in September 2006). It’s hard to let her go.

And so, I won’t. Every Tuesday afternoon at around 3:45 PM, my Palm Pilot beeps at me. It’s reminding me that it’s time to shut down my computer, get into my car, and drive to Gloria’s house for my lesson. Although she has been gone for months now, I refuse to delete the calendar entry. And whenever it beeps, I smile. As painful as it is to know that I will never “come sing at her” ever again, it still gives me joy to be reminded of her in this way. When I hear the beep, I get that same feeling I had that first day – the dawning of disbelief, surprise, and delight in discovering that I really AM somebody. I am somebody because Gloria believed and showed me that I could believe, too.

How can words possibly compare to that?