October 20th, 2012

misc - fluffy

Paula Gawne

I woke up tonight to the news that my friend Paula Gawne had died this morning. I am reeling. She was so alive and vibrant, I just didn't expect this news, and I am heartbroken and can't seem to stop crying.

I'd like to share what I just posted to her husband Bill's FB page, because I never want to forget what this amazing woman meant to me.

I would like to share with you how Paula became one of my dearest friends.

We knew each other vaguely through LiveJournal, she had added me after seeing my comments on mutual friend's journals, and we became friendly. Then one day, I posted something about wanting to die.

Paula tracked down my phone number, I don't know how, as I didn't have a contact page up at that time, and called me to
let me know that there were people in this world who cared deeply about me and didn't want to see me do something stupid.

Strangely enough, Paula always seemed to know when I needed to hear that. She would call me out of the blue when I was feeling particularly bad about things, even if I didn't post it, just to let me know I was loved and needed.

I am already missing her terribly, and I know that you and the girls are hurting badly right now and wish that I could fix it for you.

She was a wonder, and you were blessed with each other, for 40 years. I can only hope that Sam and I have so long a run of joy in our lives.

We love you, Sam and I do.
misc - fluffy

Loss and guilt

So my friend Paula died yesterday morning. And I've been going through some major changes about this today.

I've been overwhelmed with grief, almost cripplingly so. I'm doing fine, and then all of a sudden, I'm sobbing over the loss of my friend. And this was filling me with incredible amounts of guilt.

Why guilt?

Last November, my grandmother, Irene Reiser, died. She was almost 94 years old, and suffering dementia to the degree that talking to her on the phone was pretty useless. She lived in Boston, and I'm in Texas. The last time I saw her was in 2001, and I knew at that time that it would probably be the last time I ever saw her.

But this was a woman who helped raise me. I spent so much time at her house that I considered it another home. She loved me unconditionally and without reservation, and I returned her love with everything I had in me.

Yet I feel more grief over losing Paula, a woman I'd only met face to face once, than I did over losing Grammy. And thus the guilt.

Until Sam put it all in perspective for me.

I knew Grammy's time was almost over. She was very old, had lived a very full life, and for the last year or so of her life, I was expecting the phone call any day. I had time to prepare, and really, did a lot of my grieving during that time, during the time that I would call her and have to sometimes remind her that I lived in Texas now, that I was no longer married to Koji, and that sort of thing.

Paula's death was very sudden and very unexpected. One day so alive, so vibrant, so THERE, and then suddenly... gone. And that's a shock to the system of anybody who loved a person who has died. There's no warning, no nothing, just a post on Facebook and LiveJournal and the end of a life.

So the guilt is gone. Of course I loved my Grammy, and just because my grief for Paula is so profound, that doesn't make me a bad granddaughter.

Thank God for a husband who can put things into perspective for me. May we have the forty years Paula and Bill had, and may they be as rich and full of love as their years were.

And I hope that Paula and Grammy are sharing a laugh together up in heaven, and discovering a kindred spirit in each other.