For John, a dear friend (losing loved ones during the pandemic was so hard)
In a box of dusty things, I found some old photos and a few mementos from old jobs. A small pad of paper with my former company’s name and my name and title and work address. A lucite paperweight that celebrated one of our successful software projects. A very old, faded pincushion that looked like a tomato from my mother’s family. And then. I found your poems.
I had forgotten I still had them, several sheets all neatly typed and organized. A packet. With your (now precious) writing on the front “Miss Thompson (why did we persist in always being formal with one another? It started tongue-in-cheek and evolved into loving pet names for each other), Here are some of the poems I am working on that I hope you will enjoy.”
Of course I enjoyed them. Your raw pain, the description of loneliness so beautifully wrought. Your connection to the earth and her elements. It is all there and I savor these words so much more, years later, now that you are gone.
The way I found out you were gone was terrible. I hadn’t heard from you in a while and you had not marked my birthday with a phone call as you usually did. I knew you were still recovering from the kidney transplant operation. But I began to panic when months went by –phone calls went unanswered and you no longer had email — and so I googled your name.
Your obituary came up. No details about how you died. And your memorial service was the next day. Again, we were always so connected. It was like part of me knew.
Because of Covid, I could not attend. Maybe you passed on because of Covid, I don’t know. I tried to find your siblings, but I couldn’t online. I used to talk to your older sister on LinkedIn, but she has passed on too.
Those moments that I spent reading your obituary and looking at your picture felt like I was inside of your melancholy poems. All these years, beloved friend, and it ends like this. My sadness does not know where to go.
I read your poems again.