A Lasting Relationship That Will Never Die
A woman mourns the memory of a close friend who passed unexpectedly
Early last fall, when the leaves began to change colors, I started to feel like I was drifting into the first waves of depression. It was an acute feeling, a knowing, made only worse by sitting still at home every day, pondering my thoughts.
And so I bought a ticket to San Jose, Costa Rica, for a long weekend. I packed what could fit in a small backpack and made minimal plans for my time there. While away, I gorged on Taco Bell beef tacos, fried chicken and soft pillowy biscuits from KFC, and at restaurants where I could have a feast of Costa Rican food — my choice of meat, white rice, black beans, plantain, a small salad — for just a few dollars.
At night, when I could hear only the rustling of next-door neighbors in the Airbnb where I was staying, I talked in hushed tones to my closest friend, catching her up on my life.
I talked out loud to her, my dear friend Precious, who had died a year prior.
No one tells you how to cope when a friend dies. There are no instruction manuals. No guides for the bereaved who feel inescapably lonely because their confidante, someone who felt as near and dear as a sister, is no longer among the living. No real sympathy or compassion, because a friend is not a family member.
They are not linked to you by blood. Their loss is sad, and they are “gone too soon,” but it wasn’t your mother or your grandfather. It wasn’t an aunt or uncle, cousin, or sibling. They were and are a perfunctory presence. You don’t need to grieve — shouldn’t grieve — a friend as much, some seem to think.
But Precious and I were tied and bonded in a way that defied logic. Yes, we were both writers, and that was a commonality we shared. But our conversations were soul-scratching. Our hours-long dinners, where we shared bread, cocktails, and secrets, allowed for emotional bareness in an exemplified form. Her death felt like the finality of friendship as I had known it.
Those first few months following her passing were akin to living in a dense, paralyzing fog that clouded every facet of my life. My brain felt like it was in a permanent deep freeze. It took…