Tuesday, February 5, 2013


My friend Jaime died yesterday.

Jaime was an amazing person. She knew what she wanted out of life. A husband, a house in the country, a beautiful kitchen, a baby, a garden and some chickens. She went out and got all of those things and she didn't wallow in comparisons or focus any of her energy on what anybody else had that she might be missing and she was just unapologetically HAPPY.

Jaime called me her "cheese wife." In some ways we were alternate universe versions of each other; so much in common, yet leading vastly different lives. We were pregnant together, sharing in that experience. Her daughter Katie was born just a month after Tycho. She made him a onesie once, with a rainbow unicorn and a cupcake on it. I sent Katie tiny pajamas with birds on them, because before Katie was born we knew her as "little bird." We she first got diagnosed with cancer she got a fabulous pixie cut. I admired and envied it, and she convinced me to get one too.

My friend Jaime died yesterday.

That's what I said at least. Jaime was a part of an online community of women, who I sometimes collectively call my imaginary friends; I've never actually met her in "real life," whatever that means. But she was my friend as much as anyone is my friend. I'm dropping the "imaginary" so that people better understand my grief. She is real to me.

Jaime was never supposed to be imaginary forever, anyway. We were constantly discussing opportunities to visit. When we found out she had cancer I started making more serious plans. Just a couple weeks ago, when the prognosis was six months, maybe more, we decided on the spring, probably May. And when things got worse, I vowed to go down right after we got back from Mexico, since I had already asked for a couple extra days off.

But she died yesterday, and I never got to see her beyond the screen. I never got to give her a hug. We never got to sit in the sun, eating rich foods and drinking wine. That is without a doubt what we would have done. We never got to see our babies play together. We never got to build a friendship that I won't have to justify to anyone. I never got to say goodbye.

She was just 33 years old. And only two months from her first cancer diagnosis to passing. When she found out she was sick, and that it was terminal, she was accepting, she was strong, she just wanted more time with her daughter. A year, maybe two, please, to see her little girl grow up, to make more memories. These past few weeks all I can think is that I just wish I could take a year off the end of my likely long and boring life and give it to her right now, so she could spend just a little more time raising her daughter and loving her husband.

I am just devastated. I am exhausted from crying, from mourning. My heart is breaking for her daughter, who will grow up not knowing her amazing mother, and for her husband who has lost his love, his wife, his best friend, and become a single father all in one day. And also for our community of imaginary friends. We are brought to our knees by this tragedy. We are all still so young; none of us are prepared for this loss.

My friend Jaime died yesterday.

It still hasn't completely sunk in, the permanence, that I will never talk to her again, that we won't get to meet like we both so badly wanted.

I bought a plane ticket today. I'm going to her funeral in San Francisco on Saturday. Maybe it is silly to blow so much money on this trip to see her dead, when I never was able to make it when she was living. Maybe, but sitting here in my anger and grief, doing nothing seems impossible. And something I can do is be present for her, and for her family, one more reminder of how fiercely she is loved. And I'll be making other imaginary friends real on this trip, and we can hold and support each other through this impossible time.

My friend Jaime died yesterday. I am not okay.

1 comment:

  1. I love you, and I love Jaime even though I am so far from her. I am so sorry, friend.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...