It’s funny how we grieve.
Over the holidays, two friends, both of whom I’d known for roughly 25 years passed away. The first was my college room mate and life long buddy, Frank. His passing was unexpected and devasting for both his family and friends.
My plans to go to his funeral were ruined by my recovery from an automobile accident. It would be weeks before I could travel. I was miserable about the whole thing. My mood was improved slightly when another one of the college room mates, who was to give a eulogy speech, offered to let me write a small passage that would be read at the service. It brought some comfort but it was still not the best time, writing a eulogy for a friend’s funeral that I would not be able to make.
Then I received the news about ita. (small i, like she would want.) ita had been a part of an improv troupe called On the Spot that I had been a founding member of. Much of the time we spent together as a group and her tragic death was written about beautifully by another On the Spot member, John Moore, in a column that was printed in the National Post.
When I heard about ita, I was saddened like everyone else who knew her. I spoke to a few of the other members and we shared some of our memories but, at that time I couldn’t really process anything emotionally. I knew it was because I had been worn down by Frank’s death.
I kept hearing her laugh. I’d heard it so many times when we workshopped improv games. It still echoed in my head. We would improvise ourselves into a big mess and things would get ridiculous but you knew it was beautiful funny mess because you could hear ita laughing.
After a few weeks, I sat and wrote a short letter to her family. I waited until I knew what I wanted to say. Everything i said was important to me, true to me but I still didn’t feel like I had said good bye.
Today I mailed the letter.
It was like a switch when the Postal worker stamped it. There was that dull thud that the stamp makes and then a voice in my head said ‘bye ita’. Tears welled out of me, I started to cry. The poor postal worker guy was so confused. All he did was stamp a letter. He apologized but clearly had no idea why he was apologizing, Then I apologized because I had made him apologize. I told him it was fine and it was because as I walked away, I could hear ita laughing again. She probably would have hated the letter because it had a sentimental quality, but she would have loved the messy little scene it created. R.I.P. ita, Sorry these words came so late, as you are well aware, I am an ass.