Friday, December 11, 2015

This is Not My Life, It's Just a Fond Farewell to a Friend

Before our adventure race in June.

A couple of friends my age died this week. One was a guy I used to hang-out with in college. His dad was the head of the International Writers Workshop here and his mom is a well received East Indian writer. There was a group of us who all spent time together and then he went to film school and I was dating my soon to be ex-husband who was an actor and they both worked on a movie filmed here called "Zadar Cow From Hell" with Duck's Breath Mystery Theater. Anyway, we were friends through college and then after and then he moved to NYC. We reconnected on FB and his wife just posted that he died this weekend. It was shock and my heart goes out to his family.

Another friend of mine suffered a seizure on Sunday that stopped her heart for too long. The tried for a couple of days to save her, but the damage was too extensive. That friend, I met from bike racing. Her husband at the time, was a big force in Iowa cycling and raced CX. She had this beautiful dog, and I originally met her because I would go over and drool over her Pharoah Hound.

Then when we went to CycloCX worlds and were riding our bikes in the snowy downtown streets of Louisville, Kentucky, we heard someone yell, "Hey! Iowa City!" We were surprised because we weren't wearing our team kits or anything that would identify us from that distance, but we realized it was the Bike Iowa folks, so we stopped over and chatted for a bit, and we all rode our bikes to the race venue together. They had a trailer with huge speakers and they were cranking the Black Keys. There were hundreds of people walking to the site and they all applauded and cheered us as we rode up. It was so fun. We hung-out with them for a bit here and there while we were in Kentucky that weekend.

The next few years, we became better friends. We were about the same age, so we talked about concerts that we were both at or both wanted to be at and the weird phases we went through and are still going through. This Summer she and another friend wanted to do the adventure race together. I had told them about it, so they asked me a lot of questions. My friend had hernia surgery right before, and couldn't race, but she came anyway to support our other friend. My brother and I were racing as a team, and his wife and John were our support and got to hang-out with my friend while she was working support as well. She asked John if he could help her lift the kayak onto her vehicle and he said, "Jeez! Why can't you do it yourself? Did you just have surgery or something?" John is "hilarious" and it was a great testament to my friend, that she didn't backhand him.

We had a great time that day and my brother and his wife fell in love with my friends. My friend told me later that spending time with John and I gave her hope for finding a partner again too. She and her husband split-up this year and then a couple of months ago, her beloved dog died. She had such a crappy year, but she also had a very strong support system and she just got a new puppy that she named Hope.

I still can't process the fact that she's gone, but even having such a rough time recently, she led a life of fun and love and empathy and she did so much for other people and animals, that I bet she wouldn't have done things any differently had she known how soon things were going to end for her.

What I take away from these kinds of things, is that I'm glad I did as much with her as I did and tried to tell her how much I appreciated her and that I was here for her whenever she needed me while she was here. I also try to reexamine my own life and ask myself, if I knew this was my last year on earth, would I live differently, and if so, what do I need to change right now, so I didn't feel like I was wasting time and energy on people and things that don't deserve it? I'm lucky that I've been asking myself those questions for years now, and I'm pretty happy with the way I live my life.There is always room for improvement and I definitely have worse days than others, but in general, I feel like I'm making the most of what I have.


Todd said...

Life is short and you just never know. So sorry for your loss.

Churlita said...

Yes. Exactly. Thank you.