Letter to a friend who lost a friend

Dear G_____,

A couple of years back one of my closest friends died. A touchstone, a measuring stick, a bawdy, brave, beautiful man, a craftsman, a wanderer, a gentleman, an intellectual, a collector, a dandy, a hobo, a trickster, a voice of reason and a bottomless well of unconditional love for me. He died suddenly.

A few years before that my dad died. Well, my stepdad, but, you know, my dad. It was awful and eviscerating. He was sick for three years.

When my dad died, even though we'd had so long to get things up to date, he died with lots of anger and much unresolved between us.

When my friend died we were up to date, we knew how much we loved each other, and had no stone left unturned.

My mom and I had an interesting conversation not two days ago, about dream visits from our dead friends and family, and how lovely and how hard they can be. We were talking of the kind of dreams where they come back and tell you they'd never died, but hadn't told anyone, and we wondered whether we'd be mad or happy or what if they came back. I realized if my friend came wandering into the room, I'd be so blissed out that he was back, I wouldn't care if he'd died or not died, I'd just be grateful. But if my dad came back, I'd be furious. Where had he gone, why hadn't he told us, etc...etc...

I am not clear on the exact root of the different feelings, but I know this. My friend is deeply embedded in a beautiful place in my heart, and when I need him, I can hear him. He is with me all the time, and sometimes I have felt his physical presence so strongly, mostly in the form of a hand on the small of my back, encouraging me forward.

I am so so sorry for your loss, G_____.  These friends that we count on, that we carve out space for in our lives, when they leave us before we are prepared it is a devastating blow, and leaves a hole the size and shape of them that can never be filled. But we also store their love in us, and I am surprised and delighted to report that he feels as alive and present to me now as he did when I could touch him. I miss him terribly, and still really crave holding his rough hands in mine and trading dirty jokes with him, but I am constantly amazed at how much of him lives in me.

I hope you get to have a dream visit from your friend, and I hope you find some solace in the piece of him that lives in you, and that can't be dulled by time or experience, because he's part of who you are now.