Well. I wrote my last post with great intentions of that being the last sad thing I'd write ever. I meant for everything to be looking up after all that!
Then last week my best friend died. Out of nowhere, while visiting our friend, an ex of mine and one of her favorite people. I talked to her maybe, 5 times a day. When my son did something sweet, she knew. When my ex did something unspeakable, she knew. When I had a good idea or a shadowy mood, she validated it, she fixed it. She was my good energy partner, usually starting out our day with a check in phone call to get us headed in the right direction (did I mention our shared years long obsession with Abraham Hicks?). She could diffuse any difficult situation for me, gave the best advice, and was the ONLY person in the world, who never got tired of hearing about my divorce, and who never ONCE even doubted my most fantastical beliefs and dreams. She wrote this in a Validation Day card for me once, but it's really true of her more than me-- she is magic incarnate.
SO. Here's the thing about all that. I am the kind of girl who takes EVERYTHING in the UNIVERSE personally. If I miss a green light, I literally assume every time that it was because, had I gotten the light, I would have encountered something bad or dangerous that the red light saved me from. If I win 2 bucks on a scratch-off ticket, I put it away in my cash savings, because I assume the universe had a very specific reason for handing me that free money. And by the way, those theories have born out since my childhood, so I don't actually think they're silly-- a sentiment that Ivy fully agrees with. So when I thought I was getting to a better place with my former husband, and I thought I was lined up for my dream job, and both got dashed in front of my, and Ivy wasn't answering her phone, and then I got the call... I thought, "what does this mean? What is this for?" Was she taken from me so that my last remaining close confidant in the world would be pulled out from under me and I'd have to stand on my own two feet for the rest of this life? Did she go because I didn't take care of her enough, to show me I have to give my love to people even more?
These questions, blessedly, lasted for about 5 minutes, tops. It was crystal clear before that thought train had even left the station, that while Ivy's life was wonderfully wrapped up with mine, her life's end was only hers, and was not in any way at all about me. Her life is her life, her physical end is her own. I can miss her with a ragged agony, and I can sing her praises, but I don't get to take the meaning of how her life here ended as my own in any way. I am in awe of this singular moment in each life, which is only about them, no matter how it effects us. I am surprised every time I encounter it, at how beautiful it is, even when that beauty grips hands with how terrible it is.
There was a time while I was not writing here, that Josh and I lost a baby, right before we became pregnant with Solace. There was a two week period between the day we learned in a doctors office that our first child, then only 3 months old in my womb, was dying and would not live, and the night that my body finally labored and opened up and released that little person and her little home back to the earth. Josh opted to stay at band practice, so I labored and bled under the moon by myself. Before you judge him too harshly for that, we might all consider how hard that situation might be for any of us, and how many of us might avoid the acute pain of it, if given a chance. And I really didn't need him, I just wanted him. Still, when I think of the bone shaking hurt of the two weeks leading up to that, and then the healing balm of that miscarriage night itself, I do wish very much that he would have chosen to be there. I have often thought in this past year in his leaving wake that I don't think he could have left if we'd shared that night together. It was too close a glimpse at God and life and love to just throw away like everything else.
Anyway, that night that I bled out my baby under a summer sky full of impossibly far away stars and a fully indifferent moon, I got to touch death in a way many never do. It was in my body, but not of it. It was my and Josh's child-- a real part of me, but not me. That little person was her own person, even while her heart literally beat with mine. I dreaded that moment with a fighting ferocity from the moment I knew it was coming, but when it came, I was rendered tiny at the feet of its impressive beauty. My child was having her own experience of this life, and she went away when she did with no regard for me or her father at all. She labored her way out of my body just as my live child later would, and whatever her little soul was rejoined with the larger wilder world while I was left with her physical aftermath. There was a time in that process when the moon and stars came so much closer too me I could almost have reached out and touched them. And I was as happy for my child as I was sad for myself in that moment. In fact, my happiness for her that night superseded my own loss, because for whatever reason, this was her window out, and even then, she was her own, and I just loved the entirely unique existence that was her as she transitioned out that night.
Truth be told, I miss Ivy infinitely more than I miss that first little baby of ours. I miss her like there is a vice squeeze on my heart every time I look at my phone and know she will never call. I will not hear her voice. I can not send her the book I bought just for her, that is sitting on my shelf at home (though thankfully, I did read her some of it before). But I think of that bleeding night when I think of Ivy and what this end was for her. I hope it was like that for her, where the stars come closer, and the world seems wild and beautiful and like it knows what it's doing when I don't. I hope she felt the embrace of whatever it is that is the whole of all of us, I hope she was buoyed up and up by the immense love she inspired in others with just her gentle, inquisitive, often hilarious presence. I suspect it couldn't be any other way.
As I watch others grieving her, I have been surprised and amazed to see how many others also refer to her as their very best friend. Our friendship was so constant, so intimant, that it never even occurred to me she might have that much connection with others, particularly because she often felt so isolated herself. Turns out, at least 50 people viewed her as as close a loved one as I did-- as their #1 confidant, their best cheerleader, their go-to person, their favorite source of love.
Yet again, in death, I find myself awe-struck by how much love can be possible in this life, by how mysterious and how intricately intertwined our lives are-- and yet in the end, how fully self contained our own path is-- our beginning and end belonging really, only, to ourselves.
Missing Ivy, or my little one, or my husband's father, or the ones you have loved and lost, is something we here all share, but the journey out itself belongs to one person and one person only, every time it happens.
Val and Leanne, two besties of Ivy, and girls I adore, made a list of people we would be willing to sacrifice to get Ivy back. I know Ivy would LOVE this, and please don't be offended when I say that there is almost no one I wouldn't put on it. But two seemingly contradictory feelings can exist in one heart at one time, and while I am fully willing to fatten up and burn whole cities of people to bring back this one I love SO EFFING MUCH, I am also filled with the most amazing gratitude for having known her. For having moved to a commune, where our lights crossed paths, and for the 20 years of ever deepening friendship that followed. Honestly, I don't think there are many people walking around who gave as much love and joy and life as she gave, and the fact that I got to hog so much of it makes me feel like I won the biggest lottery. I am thankful for every day with I got to have with Ivy, and for Solstice last night, I prayed to her. I would WAY rather have called, but I'll take what I can get. And I think I get a lot more than I know. I think maybe we all do.