When a Best Friend Dies

Death & Soulmates

I lost one of my few best friends about two months ago. Her name was Ellen, and her death has been the worst thing to happen to me. I'm having a difficult time processing that she's gone. I'm either eating a ton or nothing, my sleeping issues are worse, I'm not doing the activities that make me happy, and I'm basically in a daze. I was telling my therapist that every week I realize something else about her death. As silly as it sounds, I'm still putting together that I will never see her again. I've been present for too many pet euthanasias (Ellen would be fine with being spoken about with pets, she loved animals) and it's painful, but it's different. I'm used to these extremely sorrowful deaths that I knew were coming. Of course, their presence is missed tremendously. However, as much as I love dogs and enjoy thinking they love me too, it's sometimes a one-sided relationship. They rarely ask me anything and they refuse to pick-up after themselves. When a beloved pet dies, I can still care for the other dogs in my care and myself. Despite those relationships being pure and wonderful, the lack of opposable thumbs made it limited. Not to mention that depending upon size, most dogs don't live past 14. Ellen and I knew each other for 30 years.

In this same therapy session, my therapist and I discussed that I have a particularly hard time with the more gory parts of death. I can't wrap my head around that my friend isn't in human form anymore. One of my favorite dogs passed a few weeks ago and was buried. I had a very hard time knowing he was outside because I couldn't protect him. Lest I forget I had to put two of my fish down several months ago and they are still in my freezer. They were goldfish and tiny, but nevertheless, Hannah Montana and Sabrina are in suspended animation in my icebox. I can't protect their bodies from the elements outside and I feel like the most respectful thing I could do is to place them adjacent to packages of Beyond Beef.

My therapist mentioned that it seemed strange to her that I didn't have an established belief in what happens to us after death. Guessing that this belief is supposed to make me less grief-stricken? All I know about death is that when someone passes they are no longer here and I will miss them. I do recall a bizarre conversation with my mom when I told her I was going to become an organ donor. She responded with, "Oh, Pammy. Please don't do that to me. How do you think I will feel if I have to look down and not see your eyes in your head?" I had no response to that.

I don't know anything about cremation, heaven, hell, purgatory, none of it. The only thing I'm hoping for is the Rainbow Bridge. Sadly, even that will likely be fraught with frustration for me. I've often said that I will probably lose my ticket or another kind of identification and will stand alone while my fellow bridge travelers get to see their pets.

What's especially bizarre when I think about Ellen's death is that I was always behind my friends in school. Meaning, I would get around to debauchery but would have to weigh the repercussions first. By the time I would figure out what to do, friends had already moved on.

I was thinking that now Ellen knows what is up there. Obviously, I'm not jealous of her, but it reminded me of my never having information when my peers did. It would be nice if she could maybe communicate with me what I will be allowed to wear in heaven. I always hear how we are restored to our best health when we pass, but what if I was wearing something stupid when at my best? What if I'm restored to a slutty schoolgirl Halloween outfit? I would be pissed.

After Ellen's service, I went to CT to visit another friend. I was laying on her couch with the curtains closed except for one sliver of light coming through. I could see dust in the air and decided to take a photo of it assuming the dust and the light might make a cool image. When I looked on my phone I had many images of a red flower, all slightly different. If I was a science major I could explain how light refracts and so on, but I know this was Ellen. A beautiful red light in life and in death. I love and miss you, Ellen. I'm not sure where your soul is or if I will ever see you again. I'm also unsure if I'm going up where you likely are or if I'm instead going down. I never understood why you liked me. You were a million times nicer than me, you were many levels smarter than me, but you put up with my sarcasm, odd bouts of shyness, and the fact that I lagged behind most people. Please keep sending me signals that you are ok and I will keep doing whatever it is I did that drew you to me.

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