1. My friend G. spent decades in the company of despair. Her despair was deep and unrelenting.
2. During the time she was active, working at her job, and able-bodied she would catch a break once in a while, for a bit.
3. Then she got bad cancer and the despair abated for a while. Cancer felt like a break.
4. Part of the relief was that she thought she would die soon, and that felt delicious to her.
5. But she carried on living for years, and her life went back to being filled with despair, and her lifedespair meshed with the despair of not dying, the incomprehension of being still alive.
6. I didn’t talk to her much during her last few years, but when I did she would ask me if I thought she would die soon, and I would say, Yes, don’t worry, it will be soon.
7. I don’t think she had these conversations with many people. I don’t know that many people would have known to comfort her by assuring of her soon-death.
8. She was never really in physical pain.
9. I think of her often, partly because I miss her terribly, partly because of her depth of her pain.
10. I tell myself I did alleviate it a bit.
11. I tell myself she had moments of tremendous joy and also quiet peace (she did).
12. I tell myself no one knows what goes on in another’s life.
13. I tell myself that the lives of people in great pain have a way, from the outside, to hide the joy the people still feel.
14. My friend G. could never have committed suicide. She said she was too chicken for it.
15. When I think about her, I also think that she left me here.
16. For a while after she died I believed she might help me from the heavenly dimension where she certainly is, but I haven’t felt her help.
17. I haven’t even felt her presence.
18. This person was more than a sister to me, more than a friend. She was my life.
19. Why isn’t she talking to me.
20. Why isn’t she helping.
Painting Alexei Adonin