My last post is from four years ago! I’ve made some blogging efforts since then, typically with a theme in mind, but none of them stuck. Or rather I didn’t stick with any of them. Then I saw my good friend Cyd last weekend, who is still blogging on the same blog she’s had for awhile, and she told me that another friend of ours was traveling abroad and resurrected her old blog to document the travel, and I thought, perhaps I should just go back to the Puzzle Box. So, here I am.
I had been thinking of a number of topics to kick off this new start to the blog, but then I saw a post from earlier that made my breath catch. It’s about texting and friendships and how I learned my dear friend Kim had cancer.
Kim died in February of 2012. I didn’t find out until April, when another friend called and asked me if I knew. She had learned by seeing some posts on Facebook that caught her attention.
I have to admit I’m ashamed I didn’t know for such a long period of time. I texted her during this time and attributed her lack of response to her being out on the town, living it up. She was a gorgeous, young woman who had a big group of friends from work, and who would show up in photos out and about in South Florida, so it didn’t bother me that she didn’t text back. It seemed unusual because she was good about responding, but I tend to not get hung up on such things.
Though I feel bad about not knowing, I also feel confident that Kim knew I loved her. Her death was completley unexpected; she had texted me a photo of her ringing the bell for her last chemo treatment. Everything looked good and chemo was over. Her death was caused by an infection she caught later–I think it was a chemo related infection. The fact that she came so far and then that infection felled her breaks my heart.
As soon as I learned the news, I reached out to her twin sister through Facebook who said she had tried to find me at the time to no avail. She said she hadn’t even thought to look through Facebook; I’m sure she had more pressing matters on her mind than finding all of Kim’s friends and telling them what happened.
She gave me her parents’ address and I sent them a card and told them what Kim meant to me. They replied kindly and sent me the beautiful program from Kim’s service.
And I’m continuously surprised my how much I miss her, and how often that hole in my life appears out of the blue. I’m surprised because the last time I saw her in person was in 2010, when I visited Florida. We were not in each others’ lives on a daily or weekly basis any longer, but we had been for three years. One of our professors, upon hearing the news, emailed me to express her condolences. “When I think of Kim, I think of you,” she wrote, and I wept. We were two peas in a pod during our MFA program, both journalists interested in creative writing. When she had trouble with her marriage, she asked me for advice and then stayed with us for a week to figure things out. She included some of my zen-inspired Shannonisms in her fiction. When we were discussing Eat, Pray, Love, we agreed to head off to an Indian ashram at some point in our lives.
She was poised, calm, measured, soothing, funny, talented, a great listener, and a great conversationalist. She was the friend I knew I could call up and say, Hey! Let’s go hike the Appalachian Trail, and she’d say, Let’s do it. We talked seriously of the ashram. We were joking only in the sense that we couldn’t afford it right then.
I miss her.