February 1, 2003

Can We Go Back to 2002 Now Please?

2003 has not been a very good year so far.

Maybe I shouldn't say that, for fear of tempting fate. After all, within the confines of my household, all is okay.
Or at least, stable.
(Maybe "stable" isn't quite the right word but if you take into account my housekeeping skills, then again maybe it is.)

However, I don't have to go very far afield to find major problems.

As well as losing my job and finding that one of my closest friends is a compulsive gambler, I've also learned that another close friend lies unconscious in a hospital in Europe, after suffering his second cerebral hemorrhage in less than a year.

In a way this was good news; I was totally convinced that he was dead.
I hadn't heard from him in way too long, and when I tried emailing his work address and that of his wife (definitely a last resort!) ominous automatic messages came back stating that they would not be in their offices anytime soon and providing a personal email address for contacting the family.

I heard back from his wife on Thursday night.
The hemorrhage was January 19 and he hasn't regained consciousness.
I haven't heard anything since that one email and can't expect her to update me regularly - we've only met once and I'm sure she has a few other things on her mind.

In a way, I don't want to know.

At various times in the months since his first hemorrhage, last May, he wrote me how scared he was of another one because the cause of the first had never been established; how frustrated and useless he felt because of the handicaps that resulted - most seriously, the loss of the use of his left hand - but recently he had been more hopeful because the doctors found evidence that a parasite which he must have picked up during his time in Africa may have caused the bleeding.

But the treatment for the parasitic infection had a risk of causing the brain to swell.

My friend has a tendency toward the dramatic so I tended to take his words with some scepticism.
Not that it would have made much of a difference in the end, but perhaps I could have been more supportive.
Not that that would have made a difference either.

There are too many conflicting thoughts and emotions still running through my mind for me to be able to write even one coherent sentence about my reaction to this news.

I may very well lose my oldest friend and my first love.

But even though we were in close touch by email, we hadn't seen each other in about ten years and there was (is?) a huge wall of bad history between us.

He's been a big part of my life, in my mind, but not in reality.

It brings in the question, how can you lose something you never had, or at least didn't have at the time?

Still, it feels as if my last anchor is being torn away. After both my parents were gone, I thought of him as my connection with the past and took some comfort in that, as I have no siblings and my cousins are far-flung and besides, they don't know me like he does.

It wasn't supposed to happen this way.

Anyone who knows me or has been a regular reader, is aware of my fascination with the space program.
If I wasn't already walking around in enough of a fog, today's Columbia disaster took care of the rest.

Columbia was the first shuttle to fly, the one whose first landing moved me to tears when I watched it, pregnant with Mark.
The first thing I saw when I woke up this morning was the video of the debris streaking through the sky over Texas.
I know I shouldn't have, but I watched the coverage most of the day.
One tragedy distracting me from another.

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