Thursday, June 10, 2010


Dear Alexandra,

This is roundabout the time when I would call you, all gushing and apologetic for having missed your birthday. You'd laugh and we'd arrange to meet up with the kids, probably at Georgina's. Ours was a comfortable friendship.

Lately I've been doubting my own sincerity. Were I a real friend I would have remembered your birthday. Especially now that you aren't with us anymore. Such an easy birthday to remember - June 1 for Christ's sake! 

Not once have I visited your grave since your funeral. But there's an excuse even for that... I don't believe in such things. We were atheists after all. Or were we? 

Perhaps we should have prayed more, been less blase, my dear friend Alexandra. Perhaps we should have been a little more humble. You said, "I'd rather read a good book than spend time with people who bore me." And I took it as a compliment that you never read books in my presence. We were never at a loss for words, were we? But all those people who are now standing beside your family are the ones who always remember you aloof, with your nose buried in a book.

As for your dearest friends, we have all betrayed you, Alexandra. Not one of us has made a positive contribution to your family since you died regardless of our best intentions and our selfish need to keep you alive within the eyes of your children.

"Her husband and mother don't let us in!" has been a most comfortable cop-out. A louse's exit from your life and death.

All I've managed to do, Alexandra, is observe from a distance. I observe disastrous changes in your eldest daughter who loiters around the streets and hangs about with hoodlums. I am told your youngest is dragged to primary school, kicking and screaming every day, every day, every day...The middle one, I hear little about and this is why she concerns me the most.

Your husband no longer has you to tout his PhDs and other medical credentials but thanks to Vicky he went back to work. They accepted him back despite months of unexplained absence. "How can I save people's lives when I've lost everything?" he asked. I explained that he had to be well for the children and he made the mistake of saying, "They are my tails! A burden!" When I told him to do it for you he said he is angry with you for dying. He tried to convince me that you chose to die as though dying is a choice like infidelity. I don't even know this man, Alexandra. Everything I have known about your husband has been a lie seen through your eyes, the eyes of a woman in love. I cannot feel sorry for him.

Georgina says that he drinks because he is mourning, he fucks around cause he is mourning, he hates the kids because he is mourning... Georgina, the woman we gossiped about while drinking coffee at her shop, has supported your husband more than your dearest friends.

Is that why I've not been seeing you in my dreams lately, Alexandra? Is it because you are angry that I have not stood by your family as I should have done? Or is it because, like me, you are too busy observing the family you held strong disintegrate and crumble? Or does it just mean that I am slowly forgetting you?

Sorry for forgetting your birthday. Sorry for being a fairweather friend. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. "Sorry is half a shit!" we'd say. Remember?

I'd like to say I love you because this is how I believe myself to feel and because I miss you and find myself crying about you at the oddest of moments, but my actions evidently disprove the presence of love so I'll just say nothing.

Your one-time friend who is now a Purple Cow.

* What do you think of this artwork by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch? It is called "Death and the Maiden" (1517). Perhaps you are the maiden who did not resist death as your dreadful lover. Someday, he'll be my lover too...


Sharon said...

My heart aches for you. There is no way for me to understand your loss, but I feel my own when I read this and I wish you didn't have to know this pain.

Robin said...

I don't know if you ever watched your video from last week, but watch it again. BTW, you made me cry again. It's been awhile since you've done that. So, I didn't see it coming. You can't do anything about yesterday. You can do something about today and tomorrow and the next day. Why don't you invite her kids over to play with your sometimes? At least the younger ones. And make a point of singling out the older one to just let her know that she can talk to you if she wants to talk. Her choice. That kid likely feels very alone. The good news is that you don't have to have any of the answers, just a willing ear. I know that you will figure this out. I have faith in you.

Ro Magnolia said...

Your post reminds me of a song I heard recently - you'll find the link at the end of my comment. It is not the greatest quality recording of the song, but has the lyrics so that helps.

I wish for you ... comfort & freedom from guilt.

I wish for your friend's children ... happiness, wholeness, and the knowledge that they are valuable and loved.

I wish for your friend's husband to get past his own grief to see the needs of his children.

I wish for all of us, what the lyrics of this song say:

"I have this hope, I have this prayer,
And I am believing Your words are true,
You never leave us alone."

Hope this song brings you some peace my friend.

Janna Qualman said...

Wow, Purple Cow. Wow. I hesitate to say anything, because this seems most personal. But it's a beautiful and poetic letter. Thank you for sharing this here, so we could read your honesty.

And that title "Death and the Maiden" rings a bell, but not because of the painting. I don't think I've seen it before. I wonder if it's a song, as well, that maybe I've sun in the past.

Be well.

Purple Cow said...

Pain? Sharon. I don't think we really know what it is unless we lose our parents when we are kids or lose our kids or lose our life partners when we are so in love with them...So, no, I am not in pain because I don't even know what pain is! I'm just in shame because I doubt I know what friendship is

Robin, I've not lost hope yet...I may come through for Alexandra at some point. Perhaps we all need our time.

Ro, the song was too mellow...too Christianlike. Does the DJ have anything with more zing? The sentiment was nice though, so thank you!

Hello Janna, thanks for your comment. You are right...I did get personal... more personal than I should have. It's amazing how personal we can be when we hide behind a purple cow.

Take care everyone.
Wishing you all the best of health and long, long lives for you and your loved ones.

Ro Magnolia said...

The DJ will have to go looking for an edgier song next time! :)