Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On the passing of a friend

For Laura Ann Miller Wilson
October 30th 1959-November 26th, 2008

Every once in a while a rare soul enters your life and becomes your inseparable twin and soul mate. That in itself is so rare and so great that the rest of your relationships pale in comparison. It might take half a lifetime before you realize that you may only reach that kind of union with that one person, and only at that one time in your life and that time happened 30 years ago. I’m not talking about romance here, I’m talking about friendship. The kind of friendship where you and that friend are all alone in your little imaginary world, and only the two of you understand it. In that world you two are free, you laugh, you cry, you sing, you shout, you can’t imagine a day spent without the other, everything that happens to you outside the friendship is fodder to talk about, laugh about, and make you closer. You called her ‘Face’ because looking at her, you saw in her face, the very mirror to your soul.

Every relationship since then that you tried to form holding that friendship as an ideal had the other person running away screaming because they could not take the intensity, and for you it was so normal. After a while you acquiesce to a compromise because you realize that you aren’t going to have that friendship ever again with anyone else, and you want friends, even if they exist outside of your private little world. In fact, you begin to realize that pretty much all healthy relationships exist outside that private little world. And yet you and that twin are still friends all these years later, although you see each other very rarely, living several states away. And still, after all of those years of separation, there are things about the two of you that are eerily similar, even though your lives took completely different turns.

“You guys are exactly the same.” Her daughter accused us as she took our photograph only a short year and a half ago.

I was driving through the state of Washington where Laura lived, and planned to come by for a visit. It just so happened that the day I arrived was the day she found out that she had cancer. I sat on the sofa with the family as she told her four daughters, who all seemed to take the news quite well, as if they were completely covered in cotton gauze. It’s a strange kind of news, Laura didn’t seem sick at all, and she was imbued with a sense of optimism as she felt she could cure the growing creature in her breast with positive thinking and raw food. I could tell that her daughters carried that positive sense of optimism with them, and rightfully so! I wanted to support her choices but I also wanted to carry her down to the operating room right then and tell them to cut it out. I knew in my bones that she was going to die, as her mother did before her, and yet I could not speak of this.

I left after the photo shoot, and I never saw her again. She had the surgery and went through chemo, and nothing could save her from her genetic fate. She died two weeks ago. I did not go to her and hold her hand as she died, I did not call her and get every last detail of her dying activities. I knew she was dying and something, my own fear of losing my twin perhaps, kept me from talking to her more. I did talk to her the week before she passed away, and she fell asleep on the phone. This caused one final laugh between us as her favorite memory from our youth was the one where I fell asleep on the phone and she came to my house and found me lying asleep on my bed with the phone cradled between the pillow and my ear. I woke her up from her drug induced sleep and we giggled for a minute as I teased her about finally getting me back for that. We exchanged love and I told her I would call every week.

She died before I called her back. God rest her soul, and God bless her beautiful daughters. My twin is gone from this life.

Always laughing
Always loving,
Always singing,
Me and you, one in two
Strength together
Finding tunnels through
Horrific youth
Burdened, abused
A child stepmother
Raising in ignorance
A vibrant you,
Navigating boys
Beaches, classes, friends
Together, like a one
That was two
We were a song
In Harmony

I will miss you Laura Ann Miller -Wilson, my precious Face. Please save a spot for me on the bus. I’ll see you at the other end and we can dance away eternity together.
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