Sunday, February 07, 2010

Not Even a Goodbye

I just found out yesterday that a very good friend of mine, Marilyn D'Andrea, died unexpectedly recently. She was a lover of writers and writing, books and reading.

Over the years, she'd been a valuable friend when I was most in need. We met in a writing class, transitioned to a critique group, and through years of further transitions stayed loosely in touch.

Just last year, she said the most generous things to me that anyone's ever said. And she sent me a novel, Blindspot, in a smiling Amazon package. It was the last of many meaningful gifts over the years. I haven't read it yet and am actually glad of the fact. For as long as it takes me to read that novel, she will, in a sense, still be here.

In the wake of official discovery yesterday, I went to Starbucks and wrote. The words came easily and, not surprisingly, carried real emotion. My novel was a project that already carried some urgency for me, but my friend's death has turned that urgency into a different, more insistent drive.

One of the last things she said to me, after being impressed by one my recent short stories, was, "I pray to God you're working on a novel."

Marilyn's death is just another reminder (sad that we still seem to need reminders) that not one of us knows which of the days of the calendar will be our last. And the big question hanging in the air is, Will I make the most of all the days between now and then? Will I deliver on the promise this magnificent gift of days that I've been given?

All I can say is, I will try.

Goodbye, Marilyn. It came and went much too fast.

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