terry, mi manchi


hi anderson,

i’ve been having a really tough time the past few weeks, that’s why i haven’t written.  but now i’m coming to you, hoping i can learn from some of your wisdom.  i know you’ve suffered some real loss in your life, losing your brother and your father.  i can’t even fathom that level of loss, let alone how you’ve been able to function afterwards.  the biggest losses in my life thus far were my maternal grandparents.  i know i’ve told you about my grandpa before; they were both so very special to me.  i miss them all the time.  but i know they lived long and rich lives so for the most part i’m ok with them moving on.  i don’t feel even remotely ok with the passing of my dear friend terry.  she died suddenly on february 3rd and i’m completely grief ridden.

i met terry at boarding school.  i don’t know how familiar you are with boarding school, but something special happens there. friendships take a lot less time to become strong and lifelong.  i remember everything so clearly, even though it’s been about 14 years since i graduated (wow, almost didn’t want to admit that).  i remember my favourite meals, i remember other people’s favourite meals (terry was a vegetarian and loved the lentils).  i remember ever step of the trip from the main school building to where we had our meals.  i remember the size, shape and feel of the big round table at our favourite bar.  and most of all i remember my friends. and right now all i seem to do is remember terry.

she was hilarious.  everything excited her, made her smile and laugh.  when i first met her, i was totally overwhelmed – she was a whirlwind!  but my misanthrope self really needed a friend like her.  she was so kind to everyone.  she was like a rockstar in the town and i was just glad to call her my friend.  we would play arcade games, or sit in the sun or listen to music and everything was so great.  we made plans to drink in L.A. when we turned 26 like in that BranVan3000 song.  but that’s the problem with boarding school – everyone who goes there is from somewhere else.  so when school was done, we all went our separate ways and life got in the way.  but through the glory of email, instant messaging and facebook we still kept connected and i am so glad we did.

a person like terry who was open and honest and loving is a rare treat.  we had such great talks about our pasts and hopes for the future.  i sure didn’t have any idea about who i wanted to be when i grew up, but terry knew she wanted to be a mom.  she got that wish when she adopted two super cool kids a few years ago.  it just isn’t fair that they had such a short amount of time with her.  i know i mourn that i’d only seen her once since high school, and that i ended up cutting the visit a couple days short.  so i can’t even imagine how those kids feel.  i don’t even have words for it.

i keep thinking about all the great lines in literature about death like “nothing gold can stay” or “stop all the clocks” when “only the good die young” played on  my ipod the other day, i wept.  terry was the brightest ray of sunshine i ever saw, and now she’s just gone.  and i just can’t bear the thought that all we have left of her are memories.  at least i can be grateful for my flawless memory.

i really hope trying to put some of my feelings down will help, anderson.  i want a way to share with everyone how awesome my friend was, and maybe i can eventually make some sense of such a shitty loss.

i know these won’t mean much to you or anyone else, but here are some of my all time favourite terry moments:

-terry got a puppy and when she wasn’t looking i learned he really liked white wine.  when she finally noticed she yelled at me for so long, but all i could do was giggle.  i was such a brat.

-terry asked to ride a friend’s moped and within seconds the thing got away from her and skid down a hill without her. we laughed so hard and he was so mad!

-terry got her own apartment for a few months and the day she moved in she had the biggest and best smile ever.  i will never forget that smile.

-one of the very best nights of my life was with terry and our friend lindsey.  we were staying in a room above the school kitchen and were all alone in the building.  we got hungry, so terry snuck down to get us a snack and came back with a huge block of cheese and an even bigger knife.  we had so much fun.

i used to end all my emails to terry with ‘mi manchi’, italian for i miss you.  and i will miss her forver.


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