When I released my poetry collection, This Song, last year, I dedicated it to a childhood friend of mine, for the sake of this post, let’s call her Janis. That’s what I used to call her anyway.
It was never a question for me, who this book should be dedicated to. Janis was a huge part of my life, she was one of the best friends I had back in the day, and her life as well as her untimely death, has inspired a huge part of this collection.
I knew, as soon as I started piecing it together, that there could be no other dedication.
I published it last year, on what should have been her birthday as well. If that makes me crazy, or dealing with the loss badly, so be it. She died 8 years ago and I am still holding on this much? Yes, so bite me.
I have still, to this day, been too much of a coward to contact her parents or her sister. I was at the funeral, mostly because one of our mutual friends tugged me in her car and drove me there. Everything seemed too unreal, I would not have gone on my own. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, I didn’t want to understand that she was really gone.
In many ways, I still don’t. I mean, I know. But keeping my distance, avoiding her family, avoiding the friends I had back then, who knew her and who might suddenly talk about her when I least expect it, has kind of kept me from accepting it all the way.
Her sister asked me to be friends on face book this morning. I accepted right away. Now I am wondering. Does she know who I am?
I mean, I am called Veronica Merlin on face book, my writer’s name. Would she know who I was, who I used to be, back then? If she did, would she even remember me? She was so young when Janis and I were friends.
Does it matter? Well, yes and no. In a way, it matters, because the person I used to be, never send a condolence card to the family- I remember being at the church and the priest thanked the crowd, on behalf of the family, for all the cards and condolences they had received. I remember thinking then, who did that? Who had enough presence of mind to be that normal, to send a card? I sure hadn’t thought about it at all and I didn’t afterwards, because, well, it kind of felt like it was too little too late, once I came around to it. So yes, I would kind of like for the family to know that I did not forget them, or their daughter, I was just too shocked and too much of a coward to ever contact them.
That said, it doesn’t matter at all. I didn’t dedicate this book to Janis because of her family, I did it simply because I needed to say it just one more time; I really did, always love her.
Her sister posted a link to This Song on her wall and thanked me for dedicating it to Janis. I am kind of thrown by this. I mean, I am so happy that she is happy that I did it. I had kind of hoped she would like it, because I know that as badly as I am at dealing with the death of Janis, it will have been so much worse for such a young girl to lose her elder sister. I had hoped that, one day, she would come across this poetry collection and smile, because the dedication would let her know that we will never forget.
So, this is me, not knowing how to respond to this post on face book. This is me, using a thousand words to explain, why I really, have no words.
“You are beautiful, like a star
This world has seen a thousand stars
But only one of you.”