Yin-Yang Twins…No, not those guys…

I lost a dear friend this week.  It was a hard shock and my soul is still trying to stop crying over the premature loss of a soul whose very essence screams purity and wholesomeness.  We lived in the same neighborhood when we were middle and high school kids and we went through the same awkward phases together.  It was the early 90s and therefore we lived by the nights of MTV, when it still legitimately stood for music television videos, to watch the latest hairbands release the next big hit.  We spent many nights together listening to music, watching videos, and crushing on the likes of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. We did silly things like tease each other’s’ hair, try on rad ass clothes, put on bright, powder blue eye makeup, and all the jewelry we could possibly find in her mom’s room.  It was a great time.

Honestly, she was my safe space.  She was the one person on the planet that wouldn’t judge me, hate me, or try to change me.  She was honest in a way that worked for a rebelling teen.  She balanced my yin with her yang, which is probably why we kept the BFF yin-yang necklaces for years.  You remember those necklaces, right?  The ones that started with half heart pieces that looked broken and one side had BE FRI while the 2nd half had ST ENDS…the yin and yang were much, much better options because honestly, who wanted the 2nd half that read ST ENDS, it was like getting the utter and ass section of a two-part cow costume…and who wants to be the ass?  No one.

Yep, yin and yang best friend necklaces in the form of hip chokers were our thing and it just fit perfectly.  She was always the positivity that everyone needed in their life, the shining brightness in an otherwise dark, dark world.  I remember I asked her once how she stayed so happy all the time and she simply said, because it’s easier to be happy than it is to be sad or angry.  It was simple, but it was right.

I remember when she had her 4 wheeler accident and she ended up with some permanent damage.  My mom, God bless her patient self, drove me to Macon, GA several times while she was in the hospital.  It was a scary time and it was some of the longest days until we were confident she would come through it.  It wasn’t long after that when we started to drift apart.  Boys got in the way, more specifically, Mr. Medic got in the way.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest, but it was something that happened the way it usually does when a boy enters a teenage girl’s life and suddenly there’s no time for anything or anyone else.  I was completely smitten and mine and her time became less and less until my family moved three states away.  We spoke a few times after I moved and a few times after I came back a few years later, but nothing was ever as close as those middle and high school years.

We met up a few times after I got back and she was still a pillar of sunshine and rainbows on a stormy night, but like with life and kids, time got busy again.  Technology advanced and eventually social media became a thing and we reconnected via Facebook, but we never really reconnected they way we were once connected.  I’ve always regretted that, but then I thought there was time.  Don’t we all think that?  Don’t we all think there’s time?  Time, it’s a fickle thing – you always think there’s more of it, until there isn’t.

So, here I sit in the darkness and silence of my living room with tears streaming down my face – thankful that I know my keys and I can punch these words out without needing to see – and I wonder.  I wonder if she knows.  Does she know?????  Does she know the light she poured into my soul some 25 years ago that has never, not once dulled?  Does she know how many lives she’s touched by just being the angelic, sweet person she was born to be?  Does she know how special she was to every single human being she met?  My guess is that she doesn’t. She saw herself as any selfless person would, just another person.  She was so much more though, she was the person that ALL people who meet her aspire to be more like.

She was unapologetically herself and who she wanted to be.  She strived for happiness and peace when others only dreamed of it.  As I sit here and reminisce over years gone by and time forgotten, I remember her smile, her positive thoughts, and the way she lived her life and I smile through the tears and heartache knowing that I am immensely blessed for having had only a blink of time with her.  I am a better person for just having known her.  I take this time to make a promise to her beautiful soul that I will strive to live in peace and happiness when others only dream of it, and acknowledge that if something does not bring that peace and happiness, that I must let it go and find what does.  She taught me that.  She taught me to be brave. She taught me to love endlessly and hopelessly and it’s time to start living for her.  I will grieve her, I will love her, and I will get busy living in peace and happiness because to do anything else would tarnish the perfect memory of the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  God bless you, Pamombeau, my darling friend and know that you will live on through time and space.  I love you and I can’t wait to see your smiling face again one day.  Fly high and shine bright my sweet friend.

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Robin Williams, a legend

I’ve stared at this blinking cursor for a while, I’ve saved and re-saved this draft, and I’ve deleted more than I’ve written.  My heart is heavy and I feel as if I have lost a part of my character, a part of my childhood.  The world lost a legend, a genius.  Robin Williams is a household name.  He was in so many shows, films, and on so many stages that I honestly cannot say there should be an adult alive (and even a child) who does not know his name, who has not laughed at his hand, who hasn’t absorbed some part of his character into their soul.  It is simply impossible.

I have never met Robin Williams, as I daresay most of normal society hasn’t, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken with me parts of him from the moments he shared with the world.  Great actors and great writers do that, they let you borrow a little bit of themselves to take with you on your own personal journey.  I cried many tears over the news of his passing.  Tears because he passed, and tears because of how he passed – that he felt so alone and so lost.  My heart breaks for the struggles he went through.

I’ve seen and fallen in love with so much of his work that it’s difficult to pinpoint a favorite.  However, there are a few that have touched me and have stayed with me just a bit more than the others.

My first date with my now husband, 22 years ago, was to see Aladdin.  I was 14 years old and loved Disney movies, not to mention that was the only movie playing my mother would let me attend with a boy.  I remember looking at my husband and thinking to myself, if he can laugh at a big blue genie with me then I’ll have to get to know him better.  In that sense, Robin Williams was there on my first date with my husband and brought us closer with his profound ability to make someone laugh.  Dead Poets Society instilled into me the courage I needed to write, to let myself be me, to go against the status quo.  It truly inspired me in so many deeply personal ways that I cannot name them all.

There is one movie that touched me so much so, I still call upon it to get over bad days.  That movie is What Dreams May Come.  If you’ve read the 100 things about me, then you’ve read that I have an irrational fear of dying.  Not how I will die, but dying itself and the fear of nonexistence – it’s a fear I’ve had as long as I can remember.  What if my faith is wrong?  I ‘what if’ myself into a panic attack that can only be compressed by my anxiety medications and the memory of this movie.  I never read the book because for one, I didn’t know there was one, but for two I didn’t want to ruin the movie.  My husband, knowing this very real fear of mine, introduced this movie to me years ago – back in the VCR days.  I watched it repeatedly and it captivated me.  I can’t say it healed me, but it has made dealing with that fear a great deal easier.  His role in that movie, his dedication, his faith, his love, his determination to make sure his wife wasn’t alone moved me leaps and bounds.

Yes, Robin Williams will always be a household name and his movies will live on in the hearts of millions.  Despite or even because of his illness, he successfully touched us all.