Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives A Damn grew from a conversation I had with my friend, Delle Chatman, in 2006. We were sitting in Metropolis, the coffee house we frequented, and she was in remission from ovarian cancer. An idea had been bouncing around my head, and though I was nervous, I told her I had an idea for a book to write. She was enthusiastic as always, and I promised her I’d do it.
I guess it was writers block that I suffered from for a long time after she died that November. I would interview someone and try to write their story, but couldn’t. I despaired of being able to keep my promise and put the project away.
It wasn’t until August, 2009, that I broke through that block. Suddenly it became clear – format, tone, topics – and two months later I was on my first research trip. This blog started in February, 2011, coinciding with my first writers’ conference. The rest, as they say, is history.
So today I sit at Metropolis once again, still glancing occasionally at the door, half-expecting Delle to walk in. I’ll do a book signing here, because there’s no more appropriate location. I owe this all to her: for not being offended by my idea, for encouraging me to embark on a career that deep-down I’d wanted to do all my life, for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I hope she’s pleased.
Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve had friends who died from enemy gunfire and cancer, car accidents and suicide, AIDS and the 9/11 attacks. Not one of those deaths made sense to me. Not one of those friends deserved to suffer - sometimes for years, sometimes for seconds. Not one of those deaths could be justified in my mind as being necessary.
But all forced me to admit that I could not change what had happened, and for a control freak, that’s a tough lesson.
We’re all control freaks when it comes to death. We have no control over the circumstances of our birth and very little over the circumstances of our death. And since we tend to be adults when the second one happens, we believe we should have a say: not only about our own deaths, but about those of the people we love.
If possible, all of us would do whatever was in our power to spare our friend’s suffering and death. Love does that: it makes you want to protect the ones you love. The hardest lesson of all is that, ultimately, you can’t.
But instead of throwing a much-deserved tantrum because we have no power, we have to sit back and say, “I hate that this happened to my friend. I hate it with every breath I take. But I can’t change it, and that kills me, a little, too.”
Ordering information is available on the Books page.