Friday, January 10, 2014

On Losing a V.I.F.

I lost a V.I.F. this week.

Very Important Friend.

It was quite sudden. It has thrown me completely for a loop.

The other happy vegan also lost a V.I.F. two days before Thanksgiving.

It's all so hard to believe.

You never know when you're going to make a friend. Well, ok, I never know when I'm going to make a friend. Real true blue friendship does not come easy for me, and I wonder if that's relatively common as we get older.

This particular V.I.F. and I had a friendship that was built on mutual admiration. I seriously adored this friend. She had a razor sharp wit, was very well read and could hold a good conversation on any subject. She loved animals, was kind, patient, compassionate, a good listener, and would always strive to do her best. Although we hadn't seen each other in a long time, we had kept in touch through the magic powers of social media. It was fabulous!

There were always things I would read or hear about, and she was the first person I would want to discuss things with. We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but that was completely ok, because we could disagree about things, but still listen to each other. I confided things to her I'd never confided before. To anyone. Ever. She was a good listener, a good advocate, a good person.

One of the things I loved most about my V.I.F. was her Joie de vivre. I mean, seriously she had that and there's no other words to express that about her, and especially with animals. She LOVED animals. They loved her right back.

She was the candle that lit other candles.

Recently, she told me she had found out some bad health news, which was quite a shock. After that, there were a few benign conversations back and forth through social media. Then she was not there for a few days. I noticed immediately. I posted a few tiny love notes on her wall, and when we went to see the Monks, I bought a special string of prayer flags and card to send out to her. They're still sitting on my table...

While I was looking on the internet, I found a little video of a dog doing something funny, it was one of her favorite types of dogs. I copied the link and was going to paste it on her wall, but when I got there instead I found a shocking message that had been posted by one of my V.I.F.'s family members that she had passed.

I was absolutely stunned. Still am.

I read the message over and over. And over, and over.

In the short time since she's been gone, there have already been too many things to count in the news I've wanted to write to her about. There's been funny videos, adorable pictures of animals, inspirational quotes, and very serious things happening in the world, all of which make me think of her.

I keep going to her social media site. Looking at all her writings, her photos. Her plans, her dreams.

I have been going through old emails we shared together, reading, re-reading.

It's very difficult to lose a loved one, there is no one who doesn't understand this through personal experience. But, it's a different kind of loss when you lose someone you have chosen to have in your life. My dad taught me this lesson, and it was excruciating to watch when he lost his best friend in a plane crash. My dad witnessed the crash, he was the first person to render aid to his V.I.F. I had never seen my father react like he did, and by that point he had already suffered tremendous personal family loss. But, he explained to me very bluntly "we choose our friends."

Yes, we do.

I chose my V.I.F. and she chose me.

Now there's just me.

Rest in peace my V.I.F.

I cannot believe you are gone. Never to be forgotten.

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