Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you, friends.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have expressed love and kindness since the news of Jill. It's been so hard, and it will continue to be hard I am sure, but life is really about the people we love. So thank you, Jill, for being one of those people in my life, and thank you to my friends for your support. I was glad to be able to make it down to California this past weekend to attend Jill's memorial and to see her family and all of our old friends. There were some great stories exchanged and beautiful words about what Jill meant to the people there. Jill's dad, Marlin, gave a wonderful tribute on Thursday and read a few quotes from a couple of Jill's favorite authors, which I wanted to share with you here.

"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center" - Kurt Vonnegut

"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward" - Kurt Vonnegut

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over" - Hunter S. Thompson

With the sun shining in Seattle I think of BBQs with Jill and Ryan, their seemingly effortless and delicious vegetable garden, Jasper, Doobie, and Barney chasing each other around the yard, checking out Jill's latest project, and standing around the kitchen island hovering over the food. There was always some crazy story to tell, lots of laughs, and lots of food. And after spending hours and hours eating, watching the dogs, and laughing, Jill would still try to get us to stay a little longer, always offering up one more drink and the guest room so the party would continue. I liked that.

It's hard moving forward, knowing that Jill is gone. Where do I begin again? How do we enjoy what we have left, in the absence of someone we love? Yesterday I sat on my porch in the afternoon sun, thinking about Jill and life. Jasper was playing with a ball in the yard, birds were flying overhead, and my friend is gone. I pulled some weeds. I watered the garden. I planted some seeds. I have hope for this year's garden. And I have hope in this life. It's sad and it's real, but it's full of beautiful people.

In the words of John Keats, "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep a bower quiet for us, and a sleep full of sweet dreams..."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Great joy and great sadness

This weekend I had the joy of meeting my first niece, Avery Juliet, a healthy 2-week old darling.

It was great to spend time with my family this weekend.

However, on Sunday I got news that one of my best friends, Jill St. Onge died of a sudden (and undetermined) sickness while traveling in Thailand. Jill and Ryan, her fiancee, had been traveling around Southeast Asia since mid February, and had planned to be back next week. Jill was an awesome girl, and I will miss her so so much. We met my freshman year in high school and were tight until we graduated in 1999 and left to embark on our own adventures. In May of 2005 I found out that she had also moved to Seattle and we reconnected, and it was just like old times, plus a couple of glassblowing boyfriends and some dogs. We did so much together--Jill was one of those people that made everything fun. She was also a fantastic artist and an inspiration on how to live a care free life. It's hard to imagine what life is going to be like without her.

Jill, Natalie, and me in February.