Posts tagged friend

To C

I have suffered another blow to the heart, a loss of a dear friend, C. I have known her since I was thirteen years old and she was just eight. Long before I dated her big brother, I cared for her and protected her. C looked at me as her big sister and me, as another little sister. C was the same age as my own beautiful sister.

C didn’t have an easy life. Her father had been extremely abusive and controlling though her mother left him when C was very young. She didn’t really remember her dad and mostly thought well of him. She heard the stories from her mom and brother but, it’s hard to not want the love of someone who is your parent, even when you know they’re a monster.
Though her mother left the abuse, she didn’t dare file for divorce or child support for fear he would kill her or take the children. She spent years hiding from the man until he had mellowed with age and gotten another wife. Contact was made but he refused to pay a dime for his children because she had taken them from him. Most times, he wouldn’t have anything to do with C or her brother. He especially seemed to dislike C.

There wasn’t much parenting in the household. C’s mother spent most of her waking hours working to pay rent, bills, and feed the children. I know for a fact, she didn’t sleep well and spent many nights pacing the floor when she wasn’t working one of her two or three jobs. C was mostly cared for by her brother and he wasn’t always gentle with her, having been abused himself. I recall sheltering C from her brother who had gone after her with a hammer while in a fit of anger over something she’d done. After that, she clung to me whenever I was around. I constantly soothed her brother’s anger over trifling childhood misdemeanours. He didn’t want to be a parent at twelve but what choice did they have?

I was a poor example to her, the same I as I was a poor example to my own sister. I lost touch with C for a few years after I did my own running away from family. We reconnected and I had been in contact with her for a long time now. I didn’t really get to talk to her mother much. When I lived again in my home town, she stayed overnight a few times. When I left again, we kept in touch via email and Facebook.

Her death was a shock. At age thirty-four, she died in her sleep. I found out, quite by accident. I happened to notice some pictures with her tagged in them on my main feed on Facebook. I opened them up to see how she was doing only to discover the pictures were of her memorial service. I kept saying, “No. No, this isn’t right. It’s not possible. It can’t be right. It just can’t be right.” I immediately messaged my sister to let her know. I called C’s mother the next morning. She kept apologizing for not being able to get a hold of myself or my sister. She doesn’t need to apologize. She has enough pain to deal with – does she need unnecessary guilt?

When I first starting writing to C again by email, she wrote about her grandmother’s death. She told me about how when her grandma was dying, C crawled into the bed with her and held her in her arms until grandma took her last breath. I thought she was so brave and compassionate to comfort her grandma like that. I don’t know many who would have. But now, all I can think is who held C when she was dying? Who showed C the comfort and compassion she showed her grandmother? Her husband left her and her young son a few years ago. I don’t even know if she was alone in the house or whether her four year old son was asleep in his room when she passed.

These things hurt me. I know C’s mother with care for her grandchild with all the love she has to give. C led a troubled life but she loved her son with everything she had. He was everything to her. He was her life. She would never have left him voluntarily. I remember little things – the freckles across her nose, her long hair, her laugh, her sense of humor, the love in her voice when she talked about her “lil Man”.

I don’t know how to say goodbye. I’m trying the best I can to let her go. I wish I could share my grief with my own sister but we are far apart in the world. It is times like this in which I acutely feel the distance. Email and phone don’t compensate for the lack of human touch. Today I have said my regrets to C, lit a candle in her memory and shared some of my pain and a little of her story with you.

Goodbye, Caro. You were my little sister and I love you. You deserved a better life and a longer one. I hope it is better where you are now.

In memory of C. I. R. : April 11, 1978 – Feb. 11, 2012


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