Sad this morning. Goodbye R!

Life! It’s a beautiful, painful thing. One of my best friends is moving to Hawaii, and I saw her last night at a going-away party for maybe the last time in quite a while. I know we will visit her and her husband C—I just don’t know when. And that makes my heart hurt.

It just seems like this happens a little too often. I have friends spread across the country, across the globe. We stay close, but that tender intimacy, the intimacy that comes through touch and proximity, dissipates, at least a little. But there’s Skype, right? Right. Okay. That really is a great thing to have. Thankful for that. You don’t just hear the laughter, but you see the facial expression that goes along with it. I’ll cling to Skype.

Why is our country so big? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just hop on high-speed rails to see our far-flung loves? (And by the way: what is UP with the price of air travel?)

On this blog, I’ve often referred to this Hawaii-bound friend as “my dear friend R.” I’ve mentioned her mostly in passing, because I know she reads this blog, and I don’t want her to feel exposed, reading about herself. After a quick search, I found about 7 posts in which I mention her, and I can always hear the love. In my “What’s going on” post recently, I wrote a passage about her at length:

R sent me a blog post that knocked me down, one that one of her own dear friends sent to her. She said that the woman featured, who gave up fertility treatments, expresses things that really resonate with her and explain how she feels right now, as someone who has stopped fertility treatments.

You’ve got to read this:

http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com/2014/04/motherhood-mondays-what-if-you-cant.html.

I admire and love R very much. I know that I often think of myself as having healed myself before getting pregnant—and I do still feel that way. But I know that healing yourself after giving up fertility treatments altogether, and quite possibly giving up the dream of motherhood, is an entirely different, and much more difficult, journey. R is doing it. She’s hitting the yoga mat every day, she’s socializing, she’s feeling joy for others’ pregnancies, she’s loving her little nephew and niece. Her strength and perseverance, her love of life, and the people in her life, and her utterly unassailable respect for herself, makes me feel pretty damn lucky to have her as a sisterfriend.

 

I bolded that phrase because I think the thing I’ve been dazzled by the most with R is how she has not let the mind-fucking pain of infertility fuck her up completely, because she likes and respects herself and knows that she deserves a happy, healthy life. She has fought for happiness and health because she truly gets how fortunate she is to be alive, to have the healthy body that she has, and to have the cornucopia of loving people in her life that she does (a cornucopia that she created).

I met R at my first Resolve meeting in the city. I remember very clearly that she was wearing a hat and had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and looked so damn cute. What I also remember is that she was very concerned about her husband, who was going through a tough time. While all of us were telling our harrowing stories about ourselves, R told a story about her beloved husband, and how she would give up her dream of children if it meant having more time and energy to focus on C, who needed her right then. That pretty much gives you a picture of who she is. In the midst of her extreme pain, suffering, loss, she was thinking of her husband and how she could help him better.

Yep. That’s my R.

I’m sad. We didn’t see each other often (she’s in the city, I’m in LI now) but when we did, it was always so fun, and interesting, and cathartic. We baked, we hung out on the beach, we picnicked in parks, and we talked, talked, talked. She’s a very affectionate person, so I always felt comfortable leaning my head on her shoulder, or just hugging her impulsively whenever something she said moved me to. R already is a mother. She mothers her friends, and we melt in her arms.

Last night I showed up to her going-away party with my pregnant belly, and she touched it and rubbed it, just like she said she would. Gah. Tears. It’s so hard. I wanted so much to be pregnant with her in that moment, I wanted it for both of us, but of course especially for her. We have sobbed our way through years now—years!—in person and on the phone, hurt by the insensitive comments of others, reeling from the absense of our children, holding each other close in our mind-bending pain, reassuring each other, helping each other move on and embrace the beauty of life, no matter what hell befell us. When I hugged her goodbye at midnight last night, I burst into tears and felt this intense wave of gratitude well up and overwhelm me. I thanked her for being my friend and told her how grateful I was for her. I left her with a sketchbook full of photographs, and then cried during the whole walk to the car.

I’m glad my little baby got to feel the touch of R before she left.

I don’t know what exactly is in store for R and C, when it comes to family-making. She hasn’t ruled out the possibility of adoption, and has talked about it some, so I cannot help but picture her with a kiddo in her lap, the next time I see her. It’s hard not to want that for her, knowing how very nurturing she is and what a wonderful mother she would be to a child. At the same time, I try not to cling to that outcome, because she herself is just not sure what the future holds, and she is going through a phase, right now, of letting go. Letting it all go. I can’t imagine the strength it takes—letting it go for real. I’ve never done that. Not really. I’ve let go of different things throughout this process, for sure, but I’ve never let go of the goal of motherhood. But R, I think, is letting go—maybe clearing the way for a new version of her future family, but maybe not. I know that whatever version of the future comes her way, R will be happy and loving, and her life will be full—with or without children.

At the party, DH and I met one of R’s close friends, I’ll call her Bunny, and Bunny’s husband, I’ll call him Neil, and we really liked them. And so as R and C get ready to fly away to the tropics, we made some new friends. Bunny is going through her own IF journey, and I woke up thinking of her, already praying for her frozen embryo. She said the cutest thing. She said sometimes she cannot imagine thawing that embryo, because what if it doesn’t work? And then she imagines just keeping it frozen. Because it is part her, part him. Building it a little crib in the freezer, little sweaters. We were laughing, because I understood exactly what she meant. Already, you feel motherly, nurturing, toward that little life, and all you want is for it to survive, and you cannot imagine losing it. She said that sometimes she feels like we’re living in the future, that we’re sci-fi mamas, and I laughed with recognition at that, too. They wanted to know more about my experience with DE, and I told them all I knew about our donor. Neil seemed very surprised by how thorough the profiles were. (I told them that I hadn’t printed out the pictures of our donor and did not have copies of them anywhere—why, I wonder? Unconscious motivation?—and after writing that post mentioning her physicality, I went looking for them. I ended up asking the clinic to send them to me again. I’ll write more about that later.) Bunny also told me about the new procedure that was successful in Japan, making eggs from stem cells in the woman’s stomach (!). I have to look this up. Wow.

It was a lovely evening, the most fun we’ve had in ages, even though it ended with me sobbing down the streets of Brooklyn with a broken heart. I feel a little better, now, having written about R. If you’re reading this, honey: I love you.

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3 Comments

  1. Another beautiful post and what a beautiful friendship you have. One of my best friends recently moved to Australia from the UK and our friendship has changed but thrived. It has been wonderful to watch her blossom in her new life. True friends survive separation of thousands of miles, although if everyone lived in the same street it would make parties easier!

    Reply
  2. It is so hard when friends move away. You’re so right that the physical distance is difficult, and as time passes, friendships change. At least most of mine have anyway. I pray you and your friend are able to find ways to stay close :)

    Reply
  3. Julia

     /  June 10, 2014

    It is sad to have new geographical distance in a great friendship. I am sorry to hear this is happening. I hope you find ways to stay close and connected. A visit to Hawaii one day sounds amazing!!! Something to look forward to for sure.

    Reply

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