Remembering You: Slice #24 Conversations with Eileen

Morning my Friend,

I’ve been putting off this Slice, Eileen, because actually, today marks the end of a tough year, one in which I adjusted to your permanent absence in my life.  While you were fighting the good fight against your stage 4 lung cancer, Tuvia didn’t let me romanticize the dire prognosis for stage 4 cancer patients.  He was wonderful with you and Andy but as you moved into decline he kept my eyes open to the reality that soon we would talk for a last time.

I remember that conversation.  I can still hear the song in your voice even though you were breaking the news of cancer’s spread throughout your body on one of your routine visits to  Sloan Kettering.  I wanted to see you one more time, but Andy kindly discouraged me.  The family was coming, joining him as you moved into hospice mode.  I’m grateful that my last memory is that last phone call.

As Tuvia and I rode up to join the rest of your mourners that Sunday, I began the trip with a ticket.  I just couldn’t be bothered checking to see if a cop was lying in wait for me as I made the illegal left turn into a gas station that would get me to the Thruway faster.  I was anxious, worried about getting to the funeral home on time.  Maybe I could have cried my way out of the ticket but I was not willing to cry my misery to him.  Instead, I behaved in that pissed off way that seals your fate for the full extent of the law.  Since then I have been softer when cops come to remind me about something.

That was the beginning of a very tough number of months, all new for me.  By July I was adding the loss of my mom to my bag along with a loss in appetite, a troubling blood count,  a lack of energy and the disappearance of my usual sense of well being.  I tried not to share my dark clouds with the rest of my world,  but it was impossible  for close friends and family not to worry about  me.  I did lose weight but I didn’t look better, just off.  I was.

It helped writing to you.  It helped writing about my mom.  Writing was really therapeutic. And now, a year later, my appetite is back, too much actually, but soon I’ll be off Prednizone, the steroids that helped me build back up my blood count and attack the pains to my large joints in my arms and legs.  I can left weights again and enjoy moving.  Soon I’ll be able to take on a real diet with more exercise, if I’m smart.  Anyway, as you know, that’s my craziness.

This Slice will not be our last conversation I will  write to you but with last Conversation to Eileen I will have satisfied my way of actively mourning my promise of a year of conversations on this blog. It was my way of honoring you, my version of the way we Jews mourn the dead.  I’m retiring my daily tag: Conversations with Eileen.  Is that okay with you?  I can see you smiling and shaking your head and nodding yes, of course.  I hear you gently suggesting that I move on.

I will, but I will continue to miss you.   I know I will never be able to replace our friendship and that’s what will  happen as I age.  I will continue to lose friends that I won’t be able to replace. But I promise that I will try hard to be grateful for the wonderful friends and family I have.  I won’t take them for granted.

And…

I know, I don’t have to, but  I want to continue to remember you when I  wake up early, when the day is fresh and crisp and look out to my Hudson and think about you and how lucky I’ve been to have you watching my back.  I will pass that on…
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Categories: Conversations with Eileen, Slice of Life 2013 | Tags: , , | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Remembering You: Slice #24 Conversations with Eileen

  1. juliahewitt

    Bonnie– once again, you move me to tears, and I’ll miss Conversations with Eileen. I’ve often thought of starting my own conversations with a number of dear missing ones… as ever, you inspire me, even at a distance.

  2. What a beautiful tribute you have given your friend. You have probably seen this before, but I want to share it with you, because it says so much, so beautifully about the grieving process:

    The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

    to love life, to love it even
    when you have no stomach for it
    and everything you’ve held dear
    crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
    your throat filled with the silt of it.
    When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
    thickening the air, heavy as water
    more fit for gills than lungs;
    when grief weights you like your own flesh
    only more of it, an obesity of grief,
    you think, How can a body withstand this?
    Then you hold life like a face
    between your palms, a plain face,
    no charming smile, no violet eyes,
    and you say, yes, I will take you
    I will love you, again.

    It was a pleasure to follow you through this process, friend.

  3. So, I’ve started this comment several times now, and here goes….it’s been quite a remarkable journey, Bonnie, and we’ve been privileged to be along – a journey of love, in grief and to acceptance. You will always be having conversations with Eileen, my friend, for the people we love are always with us…..

  4. You have honored your friend and friendship with Eileen. This has been a tumultuous year for you. I’m glad to read you are healing. You are a good friend to all near you and in the cyber world. Blessings Bonnie.

  5. @elsie and Tara, you two,Linda and Stacey have reading and commenting on my Eileen posts throughout the year and I have so appreciate your comments of love and support and sharing. We are a circle of friends.
    Thank you so much for being here with me.

  6. Beth Rogers

    Thank you for sharing this. I too have conversations with a dear friend that I lost four incomprehensible years ago. I usually talk to her when I’m in the car, or alone in the house. Perhaps I should try writing. You are in inspiration to many, to be sure. Blessings to you.

  7. andreatej

    This was a beautiful tribute to your friend. I will miss your “Conversations with Eileen.” I love reading your early morning posts and the title of the blog is so wonderful. What will you title your new blog?

    • I’m keeping the blog but just opening it back up to a variety of posts. It used to be a blog appearance where you could post a gorgeous view of one photo and then write to it in the dominant color of the photo but somehow the creators changed the format. I moved on :)

  8. Lynn Jacobs

    Lovely, Bonnie. It’s been so heart warming to follow along with your year of conversations with Eileen. She is a well-remembered friend. And you are a true friend. Love to you.

  9. It’s been one year. One year of conversations with Eileen. I’ve read as many of them as possible. I’ve loved the way you stuck with this memorial to Eileen, remembering her in your daily writing. Honoring her with the stories you would’ve spoken to her if she were still with us. I know it’s been a year, but I can still sense how much you miss her. It is evident in the writing that flows from your heart.

    I knew this day was coming, Bonnie. And now that it’s here I know why I remembered that it was coming. Today is the sixth anniversary of my Grandma’s passing. Now I know why I knew Eileen’s (American) yahrtzeit was in late March.

  10. Bonnie, you tribute to your friend has been a wonderful journey for those of us who did not know her…but yet now…know her….I am condent she is smiling on you now…and will continue in the days ahead…as you begin to rebuild your life…in tribute to her but also in tribute to living. You are a wonderful friend, of that I am sure.

  11. The community celebrations of Eileen’s life are coming in June.

  12. Jessica Bruzzichesi

    Although I did not know Eileen, this was an incredibly inspiring read…I’ve lost so many loved ones over the course of the last few years, it’s relation to my life lets me insert their names and faces and gives me peace. Thank you :)

  13. What a friend she must have been. I feel like she knows you are talking to her. So lucky to have such a treasured freindship.

  14. In some ways your journey has become our journey, my journey. I remember last year the loss and the grief then the continuing with greetings, love and remembrance of Eileen. You have written with such honesty and allowed us to travel with you down a road we never want to go on. But we all do and your brave writing has shown it is possible to walk it.

  15. Time is so fleeting, why we are grateful for every day we have, for ourselves & with others. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year Bonnie. You have been so faithful to Eileen and your friendship, honoring them in a way special that probably only you and she would understand. I am happy you feel satisfied and are willing to move away a bit, on to other things. Cheers to you and to Eileen!

  16. Paul

    This is brave and beautiful — what writing should be.

  17. Thanks to everyone for the friendship I continue to need :)
    Bonnie

  18. Lani

    Beautiful words Bonnie. Brought me to tears also. Wish I could be there with you next week, but will plan to visit soon. Much love, Lani.

  19. You have honored your dear friend in a special way. It is true that writing does help to heal the heart, a time for questions and longings. I appreciate you opening your heart and allowing us to be a part of this, to see a glimpse of your closeness and a model of healing.

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