Several weeks ago I went to a medium. Despite my general skepticism when it comes to things I cannot see, Long Island Medium has made me a believer and, more than anything, I wanted to hear from my friend who died four years ago. There is still rarely a day that goes by that I don't think of her in some way and, of course, with my son named for her, this will be the case for the rest of my life.
I was incredibly disappointed when she didn't arrive. My grandfather did, and while it was fun to hear from him, I desperately wanted that last conversation my friend and I never had. Oh sure, we had a last conversation, and looking back I know there was something profound about it, but it still ended like this:
Me (walking past her desk on a Friday afternoon): "We're heading over to Jack's. Come meet us when you're done."
Her: "I'm going to the airport. Remember? I'm going to New Orleans."
Me: "Oh yeah; you told me that like two minutes ago, didn't you?"
Her (laughing): "Yep."
Me: "Ok. Have fun! See you next week."
And that was it. There was no goodbye, just a phone call 72 hours later.
I thought the medium was the way to closure you can never have in this situation. I thought I'd hear that life, if you will, is pretty darn good up in heaven. I thought I'd laugh with her again. I thought for 30 minutes it might feel like she never really left. I thought she'd show up, but she didn't. Not then anyway.
This weekend we went to a house concert. This makes me sound much more hip than I am so lest you start imagining me making my own cheese and honey over here, picture someone's living room filled with a mish-mash of chairs and a lady with a guitar serenading us at the front. This type of event is not the typical way I'd spend an evening, but we had a babysitter and an invite so I went along with it.
Toward the end the singer told us her next song was about a funeral she attended where she and her friends could not help themselves from inappropriately laughing because they didn't know what else to do with their grief. The song told the story of losing a dear friend unexpectedly, feeling badly about laughing through her funeral but believing the inappropriate response was a sign her friend would live on.
It took less than 20 seconds of that song to transport me back to my own friend's funeral. I saw the casket, heard the eulogy, and listened to the priest. I looked down and didn't dare look at my husband.
I could only think about her and to avoid melting into a puddle on the lovely floor in front of me, I focused on the math. "Four years," I thought, "has it been that long?"
To remove myself further from emotion, I began calculating the exact date. It was a complex equation involving the date of her funeral with where I was when I heard the news and all the days and events in between. There was the drive back home, the inability to dress myself, the work-sponsored grief counselor, the heavy reliance on packaged goods for calories, the arrival of out-of-town friends, dinners, dinners, drinks, and the funeral day itself. When I emerged, I was fairly confident that day was the anniversary. I whipped out my phone to check a calendar. My husband nudged me and strongly suggested with his eyes that I put my phone away, but I couldn't. I was on a mission.
It was the day.
She was there! It would be just like her to show up at a random house concert to say, "Hey, I'm ok. What are you doing at this house concert??"
So now, I own a CD with a song about a funeral and know my friend is laughing almost as hard as me about house concerts and encouraging me not to remember the casket, but the bottle of champagne six of us shared at the end of our own funeral day.