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One Last Gift from a Late Friend

I mentioned in this post how my friend, Dee, was murdered in her home late last year.

credit: Denise Johnson, unsplash

The shock of her death still grabs me by the throat all these months since.

I had to go take a break after writing that sentence. I can •talk• about this, but getting into my body to •feel• it makes me go right to avoidance. I ran to Facebook to numb out. Noticing how one sentence effected me. And I don't want to gloss over this.

I don't know if I will even post this. It feels too heavy. But maybe it helps someone. Maybe it will help if I say this grief is a boulder and I can chip away at the pieces and keep some, like nuggets of wisdom. That is what this entry is. A nugget. Showing a shard of goodness in the tragedy of losing my friend. Even the word murder is hard for me to utter. Hard to hear. Hard to write.

It is so unbelievable for me. Someone killed her. Dee, who probably had her backdoor open to the beautiful day as she swept the kitchen or decided what to make for dinner.

My chest is tight. May be my bra; could be that visual up there. Seeing her in my mind's eye — domestic goddess, beautiful friend.

My throat hurts.


This post wasn't supposed to be this way. I wanted to get right to the gift. But in re-reading and editing, I wanted to connect to her death, to my grief. Because grief is something we gloss over. We don't give it space.

Even now the thought entered my mind, 'she was just your friend, Amy. Why are you so broken up about this? geez.' Like, get over it already.

But glossing over and stuffing it down gives us a tainted view of grief. I think we grieve our losses for our entire lives. What a depressing thing to know. How do we function with the weight of all of that?

I think we stop feeling it in our bodies. We push as much as we can away from ourselves. Defense mechanism. A way to cope. Not necessarily recommended.

And, when another loss occurs, we add it to the stack, all of our losses come back up like a geyser, and we grieve all of them at once, all over again. Does that make sense? At funerals, I'm crying for the fresh loss, and the others. That's my experience. What's yours?

Writing helps. Two-word sentences help. They seem poetic and grounded.

A couple of things to know about Dee.

  1. She LOVED her girls, 2 daughters, 1 step-daughter.

  2. She was physically abused by her husband, turned ex-husband. He threw her across the room and she landed on their coffee table. This caused pain that lasted until the day she died. I believe their relationship was still contentious. He has an alibi.

  3. She was happy in her life with her new fiance when she died. He also has an alibi.

  4. She was a full-time mom, a photographer, a hypnotist, a jewelry maker, a medicine woman, a reiki practitioner, and a lightworker.

  5. Her smile could light up a room. She loved black cats and naming dogs after Beatles songs.

  6. She collected friends; never letting go of some of them, even if they let go of her. Myself included.

She and I were very close for 3-4 years until I got tired of her complaining about her husband but never doing anything about it. I got tired of every conversation being about her. I got tired of being the only one calling. I got tired of her staying friends with one of my exes, rather than being loyal to me. It felt like a betrayal.

I feel this in my stomach. It just turned over. The guilt over letting her go.

Seems so silly now. I thought, in the way we do when we're young (and I feel like I was young until last year), that she’d always be around. Or that she'd be around for quite a while more and one day we'd reconnect. So, we hadn’t talked for years when I found out she’d been killed. and it's a regret I have.

With Dee's death, I have found many gifts from looking at the way she lived.

I started noticing animals because of Dee. Animals come into my circle of awareness — the hawk zooming low to the other side of the road I'm driving, the two vultures standing guard over the roadkill close enough for me to touch them, the adolescent bear that decided not to cross the 5-lane highway. Anytime I notice a crow cawing, I say “hi Dee! Love you!”

Another gift from her death seems to be this:

Among the trinkets of her life

that I carry with me

in my pockets,

this gift jingles for attention—

Pursuing a dream to the fullest

is what life is about.

I've been assured it will be difficult. And yet, I know it will be fun, too. I'm ready to fail, make mistakes, figure shit out.

Dee was a beautiful person and she was flawed. I will sit in the possibilities of what I can do with my own life, in honor of her.

Blackbird, fly.



PS: I'm blogging along with Effy Wild in April. If you'd like to join the facebook group to read the rules, go here:

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