Rest Peacefully, My Friend

An old friend, L, passed away recently. Unfortunately, I don’t have the details except what her sister posted on social media yesterday. And that information was vague. She “died peacefully in her sleep.”

I hope that is true. L deserved peace. And she never had that in life. At least not to my knowledge. She was one of the people I left behind all those years ago. She and I last spoke in August of 1994. I was getting ready to leave the only home that had provided me respite to go to college. I was scared.

I was in the midst of trying to push that fear deep down within myself when she called me out of the blue. I hadn’t seen her in a while, but that was L. She would pop in and out of your life. While L and I talked, I knew she was in pain; I could hear it in her voice. She was so desperate for a connection, a life raft, to pull her back onto solid ground.

I could not help her. I couldn’t help myself back then. I wish I could.

I only talked with her for a few minutes before telling her I had to go. I had to finish packing for college. That meant that I had to focus on pushing my fear down to quell my demons. I could not handle my pain and hers as it seeped through the phone.

L was lost in this world, a soul in pain. That pain is a shroud, clouding the vision of this world. Bright colors are forever dimmed, and the sun never shines brightly. The pain consumes all that is bright and beautiful.

L’s addiction was her doing her best to push that pain down. L wanted to stop hurting, even if that was a fleeting and temporary thing. Drugs, alcohol (or a combination) moments were respites—an oasis from demons that hounded every minute of her day.

I know now. On some unconscious level, I knew L’s pain. It was my pain. It is the pain of us all.  

I will forever remember her laugh. It was the best laugh, and no one could help but join in with her laughter. I swear you could hear her laugh a mile away. You always knew when L arrived because of that laugh.   

Rest peacefully, my friend.

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