I'm finally getting around to writing a condolence note to the mother of a friend of mine. Stacy died in February, about a week before my birthday. Even thinking about writing the note is making me cry. I don't really have a good excuse for not writing before now, other than that I knew it was going to hurt to write. I don't, of course, know yet what I'm going to write IN the note, not specifically. I chose a brightly colored notecard, which seems right somehow. I do have experience getting sympathy notes and I think that the best ones are ones with specific memories, so I'm going to try to come up with a selection of the right ones.
Stacy and I had been friends since about 3rd grade and we lived just down the street from one another. On the bus on the way home from school, she taught me how to blow bubble gum bubbles. We were Junior Girl Scouts together in elementary school, sang together in chorus in high school, and traveled together to Disney World senior year on a chorus trip. Stacy was my perennial defender in elementary and middle school and while I have forgotten most of the mean things that classmates said to me, Stacy still knew every single one, even when we were nearly 30 years old. She was creative and funny and smart and kind and brave and I miss her so much.
Maybe that's enough for now. Maybe the rest can wait until her memorial service this summer. Stories about her sense of humor and the questions that she asked in chorus ("So, if someone's singing a little sharp and someone else is a little bit flat, does that even out?" -- Stacy was a visual artist, so this makes sense from a color point of view, but not so much for pitch, eh?). How she just knew to hug me and didn't have to say anything when I came up on anniversaries of my dad's death. How she taught me to be more musically artistic just because I knew that she could hear colors.