Yesterday I heard the news of a friend's death, two days earlier. I'm away from home visiting the Clown, who is working on a show in Milford Haven, so I had been away as well from the internet.
Her death in New Mexico - so distant from me in sodden, fog-covered Milford Haven - was unexpected. Perhaps, given the circumstances, it should not have been a surprise. She had collapsed a couple of weeks ago and was in a coma. We all hoped she would wake up, and the signs had seemed hopeful - or as hopeful as signs can be, received fifth, sixth, seventh-hand, through a digital word-of-mouth. I have no one near me who also knew her. This is hard.
Hope sometimes leads you on.
There was an earthquake in Christchurch, NZ, the day after my friend died. Both pieces of news inundated my computer when I turned it on yesterday. Probably hundreds of people have died in that disaster. Perhaps so much loss should put the end of single life, well-lived - because, oh, how well she lived, joyfully, truthfully, deeply, generously - into perspective. The pictures of Christchurch, and the accounts I've read have made me cry, but I know it's because I'm standing on ground liquefied by my own personal earthquake, high on a private Richter scale of emotion.
I've got the memories of my friend, shadow-architecture to provide the outlines of the buildings that are gone. It's not the same, obviously.
I hope I get to meet up with the rest of the circle who knew her, scattered as we are across multiple countries.
I believe she is just gone now, the way a flame is gone once you blow it out. But I like to imagine, if there were a place for her still to be somehow, that she's lighting up a room with her smile and laugh and the music that she carried with her.