dara greenwald gratitude

i am grateful for:

1) dara, dara g., dara greenhair, or just plain d. 1971-2012

2) i am afraid of writing something trite or inauthentic here, because i know your bullshit detector is one of the best there is, but bear with me, sistah. this is for me, so i do something other than cry. so: i am grateful for your smile. you had one of the best. complete with deluxe eye sparkle.

3) your peaceful passing. i am glad you went gently into that good night. i could feel you in the afternoon, in a bubble of warm blue light. i could feel night falling, and you. i hit “send” at sunset because i could feel the passing. i am so glad you were surrounded by love.

4) your honesty. you would pick up the thing that no one wanted to say, and say it. sometimes this hurt, but usually after the sting was illumination. true aim.

5) your hilarity. you were saying this illness thing especially sucked because you like to be in control. you told me about the flower club you started in fourth grade. there were strict rules: “no boys allowed” and “must love flowers!” among them.

6) your hilarity, continued. a month ago you told me how the south park episode where the dads are all nuking their balls so they get cancer so they can get medical marijuana cracked you up. “now that’s funny,” you said.

7) your ability to see on so many levels: the emotional truth, the analytic truth, the hilarious truth, the political truth, the artful truth. they all kind of merged for great conversations about relationships, parents, therapy, death, illness, and more.

8) your ability to bring people together. i have never seen people rally like your people rallied, d. fiercely loyal cadres.

9) your critical mind. you sliced and diced and reassembled with newness.

10) your crazy grace in this illness. holy shit, mama. not to brag, but i thought i handled cancer decently, but fuck that, you handled cancer, an osteomy bag, many surgeries, a collapsed lung, “tumor fevers” (WTF?), injections, slippery veins, four kinds of chemo, several rounds of hair loss and hair growth, the stupid mouth sores, and the stupid tumors, and so many more indignities and pains with such grace. yeah, you kvetched sometimes, and lordess knows it sucked so hard. but i could see you anchored in healing, in wit, in staying happy and in flow, even as that nurse shot you up, even as the hospital idiots bumbled, even as that stuff just grew and grew and grew.

11) your chemo mohawk. your hair was so soft and fluffy.

12) you allowing me into your realm these last few months. i feel blessed to have shared the time with you. to have done some yoga and rubbed your feet and just chilled with you while you dozed. i am honored.

13) you going into forearm stand during chemo–for the first time ever, with such an accomplishment smile. truly gorgeous, my dear, my fear-facing hero.

14) dying at home, with dignity.

15) josh, everyone’s hero. for the tender kindness and devotion i saw him display again and again and again. he handed you a cloth during your fever and kissed you with such sweetness i wanted to weep. that is love, there.

16) getting me cozier with death. it can be a thing of love amidst the fear.

thank you, d. for bringing sunshine, and wisdom, and truth into my life. thank you d., for tolerating this tripe you would surely have found at least a little amusing. thank you d., for trusting me. i am sad we didn’t get a final-final good bye, but we did have that wonderful moment, where I swam in your eyes while holding your feet. and you said, “i love you” as i left, which now feels like way too soon (i should have stayed). and i did too. i love you, d., my dear friend of the last 24 years. thank you. love, love, love. and so much light for the journey. xoxoxo

Valerie Reissdara greenwald gratitude