Grief is a funny thing. There are days when it subsides a bit, allowing for memories to return that leave me smiling. Other days, it floods my mind and heart with memories that reduce me to tears. There is no way to predict when or how the memories will resurface. In the two months since my sweet friend, Michelle, died, I have experienced both kinds of days.
One morning, after dropping my daughters off at their respective schools, one of them being my high school alma mater, I felt pangs of sadness, for no apparent reason. Sometimes, that’s how it begins. There’s an underlying sadness, and at first, I can’t quite pinpoint its origin. Then, it hits me. I miss Michelle.
Perhaps, it was the sight of the girls in uniforms that Michelle and I wore when we walked through those doors and down those hallways that triggered the sadness. It doesn’t matter what the cause is, because the end result is the same. I miss Michelle.
As I made my way through the familiar streets that we both grew up on, I couldn’t stop thinking of her. At a stop sign, she reminded me that she is still here, and my grief was stopped, for a moment, in its tracks.
As I changed the channel on the radio, I heard Simple Minds’ song, Alive and Kicking. At first glance, that may seem rather morbid or like some sort of sick joke, but that’s not what made immediately laugh and smile through my tears. No, it wasn’t that at all.
It took me back to our college days, when I often listened to my Simple Minds’ cassette (yes, a cassette!) Once Upon A Time that contained this song and the time when Michelle entered the room as it played. Her face lit up when she heard this song, as she exclaimed, “Do you know what the name of this song is?!” Of course, I knew the name, but I had no idea why she asked me that. Then, she told me.
Apparently, she had been at a hair appointment, and that song was playing in the salon. Michelle explained that she had been quietly singing along and then told her hair stylist how much she likes that song, Ala La Kiki. I will give you a moment, as I am sure if you are familiar with the song, you are now singing Michelle’s version and/or the original refrain in your head.
We’ve all been there. We mangle the words to a popular song, only to be surprised when we discover the correct lyrics, but not too many of us take such pure delight in it like Michelle does. It was a silly moment between two friends many years ago, and as I sat in my car the other morning, it felt like another silly moment between two friends. Because that’s what it was, and I am so grateful that she shared it with me.
I don’t think that it was a coincidence that I heard that song at that time. One of the many things I love about Michelle is her ability to laugh at herself and her willingness to share those laughable moments. As soon as I heard that particular song, I knew that she remains here with me, still making me laugh, and, I am sure, laughing right along with me. Grief is funny indeed, but Michelle is funnier.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day