Departures and Arrivals

My phone pinged this morning, whilst I was still deep in slumber.

This is not a surprising thing to occur, as my phone pings all the time. The unusual bit is that the sound was enough to gently nudge me out of my nocturnal dreamland. Due to the annoying patterns of my own brand of insomnia, I sleep hardest during the last few hours before the dreaded alarm on said phone forces me to arise and reconnect with the human race. I never hear simple pings during that time.

But this morning I did.

I fumbled for my phone, buried as it was and usually is under the blankets with me. (Yes, I sleep with my phone. I once missed a very critical phone call and I’m still not over the eventual tragedy of that miss. I hear the rings in my sleep, just not the pings.) I brought the phone up to my bleary eyes, my mind still in first gear, fading images from my latest dream throwing things off kilter in that reality-slip of awakening.

I had a notification from Facebook that a friend had just posted an update. I nearly threw the phone back down, as I’m so rarely on that platform that their cryptic algorithms generally result in random and unimportant notifications about nothing. But then I noticed that this update was from my friend Bruce. I had just private-chatted with him not too long ago, wherein he had asked for my mailing address so he could send me a little something. I gave it to him, comfortable in doing so because, although we’ve never physically met, we’ve been friends for many years. I just assumed he was sending something clever and funny, because he has a great sense of humor. So, I clicked on the notification.

Bruce’s post had me fully awake, instantly. He was sharing that he was finally in a place where he could let everyone know that his wife had passed in July.

My heart slipped sideways.

Because although Bruce and I are friends, and I think he’s a really swell guy, his wife and I were once as close as digital friends can be in this odd biosphere of social media. Tammy and I would “talk” every day, an endless stream of comments and photos and private messages and story-collaborations and hopes and dreams. We talked about everything, we talked about nothing, and we talked about the four of us getting together and doing it up right.

But we never did meet, which is often what happens in the odd biosphere. And we eventually drifted apart, another sad bit of fallout in the biosphere. No one means for it to happen, it just does. Life intervenes, comments are missed, connections become tenuous and slow-suddenly voices become distant, slow-echoing into quietude.

I yanked myself out of bed and staggered into the room where Partner does his “work from home during the Pandemic” thing. He knows both Bruce and Tammy, and he knew the significance Bruce’s post would have for me.

Partner: “Did you see…”

Me: “Yes.

Partner: “You need to respond.” (He’s good with pushing me to do the right thing.)

Me: “I know. I just can’t right now.”

So, I spent the next few hours piddling with this and piddling with that and making up crap to do so that I didn’t have to take that next step. I even hopped in the car and motored off to buy cat food, partly because we always need it but mostly because I seized the opportunity to delay. As I returned and pulled into the driveway, I spied a package left on the front porch. I just assumed it was something for Partner, as he’s a big fan of buying it cheaper online and having it delivered.

Once back in the domicile, and after more rounds of piddling, I mentioned to Partner that he had something on the porch. I went with him while he retrieved such, not sure why, as I usually leave such up to him. He opened the door, plucked up the package, made an odd face, and then he showed me the return address.

It was from Bruce (and Tammy). To me.

My heart slipped again.

What kind of cosmic confluence had all of this happening on the same day?

I couldn’t open it then. Because I had an idea what might be in that box. (Nothing morbid, mind you, should your mind go in that direction.) There is a long backstory potentially involved, and I might very well be wrong, but my slipping heart both fears and relishes the contents of the package.

I set the box on a chair in the front room.

And there it still sits, as I type in another room.

I will open it, soon. Just… not right now.

In Bruce’s update, his closing comments included the life-celebrating words “No mourning.” That’s exactly what Tammy would have wanted. And although I’ve veered into the mourning aspect in an understandable violation of that directive, I’m going to pull up my socks and do the right thing. Which means that my next few posts will involve a delightful shining star that most of you have never met, but you should have. We should always raise high what is worthy, and I will do so with trembling but determined arms.



48 replies »

  1. My condolences. Having hands on experience with losing a loved one, I know for a fact that ‘no mourning’ is an impossible directive – how delightful life would be if it were. Remember the good moments, the laughs and the fun, and grieve. Not for Tammy (depending on your beliefs she’s either in a better place, or has no use for anything any more), but for you.

    Don’t become a spider. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh dear, 2020 strikes again! So many young deaths, so much loss… my condolences Brian, from afar. Yes, that package arrival is weird- take your time to open it- have a hanky ready- grieving is very important, let the tears & the laughs flow equally 🙏🏼 G

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My heartfelt condolences. Friends are precious, even the ones we’ve never physically met. The sad news makes my heart ache for you. Twenty twenty will go down as the worst year EVER, and this is just one more ‘brick in the wall’ as it were. Take time for you, go down to that Mexican place you like and have a margarita (or three) and toast your friend. Then open the package. Because I’m betting you were sent something precious. Take care Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 2020 sucks, full stop. And making things worse is the fact that so many people could benefit from mental healthcare right now, but that bastard in the White House is still doing everything he can to destroy universal coverage…

      I almost DID go to Ojeda’s for a tribute dinner, but the “right moment” to open the package suddenly hit me and I ripped it open before I ever made it to the restaurant. But I will still be raising a few toasts and munching on puffed tacos…


  4. All those comments above say it all. How we hate getting an untimely wake up call. Do what you must, post her memories, share. And reach and comfort Bruce. Sooner, not later. This is all I can offer; Time slips slyly away/ Day by anodyne day/ Till the day has passed/ Endless days, they never last.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I had the right words to send your way, but all I can say is that I am very sorry for your loss. Being sporadic at my online visits this summer, I only now just read your last three posts. Clicking on “like” seems so inappropriate, but what more can I do? We all handle grief and loss in our own way–“no mourning” being a noble sentiment, but not necessarily doable. I am glad that you have so many good memories of Tammy to visit and to share. I’ll be thinking of you this weekend. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for these words. They are especially soothing coming from you, as they (and you) remind me to remember what is truly important. We all have different ideas and beliefs and convictions but, in the end, we are all on the same journey…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, there! (I believe you’ve made your way here from Angie’s website, which is a lovely way to make a connection.) The box contained a house for my Christmas Village, which is a wonderful and thoughtful thing. Thank you for taking the time to visit, and I hope you’ll stick around to enjoy the mild anarchy of Bonnywood… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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