Privilege Blog

Still Here, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:55am

I quite like the redwood hue of this shirt (J. Crew), and the coffee-color of the pants (Eileen Fisher) and loafers (Paul Green).

To say nothing of the light as it falls on my old wood floor. But none of that is probably worth a blog post per se.

To be worth posting, I’d want to add a jacket, maybe a scarf.  To be be honest I just haven’t found the perfect brown topper for these warm-toned outfits, and my only possible scarf has black in it too. My color sense abhors a black with brown and that redwood. I can’t say why. All ideas welcome, for both color science and a good jacket. I default to my very old olive-green J. Crew.

The reason I’m here today, on this Saturday morning, is because of the necklace.

That’s a Hello Kitty silhouette, outlined in pavé diamonds, with two tiny pink rubies playing the role of hair bow. I mean, it does kind of match the shirt. It’s a fun shape, with more interest than, say, a pendant or a simple chain. Made of precious materials, but casual enough to stomp around in. Kind of my jam, as I would have said before I was cool i.e. yesterday.

But really, the thing is, my best friend gave me this, she who died of glioblastoma in January of 2021.

One year, for her birthday, I gave her a pair of diamond earrings on a French wire: practical, tasteful, and just luxurious enough for daytime wear. Very High WASP Moves To California;  diamond flower in each ear. She asked me what I’d like, and contrary soul that I am, I picked the above. Hello, Kitty. My friend and I had once taken our young children, in a flock, to the Sanrio store at a mall north of where we lived. Why, I don’t remember. She could make the silliest and most quotidian of afternoons into a festival, complete with memories and hence a keepsake.

Something you keep for the sake, I suppose.

I used to think that people who talked about those they’d lost, year after year, were doing something wrong. Wrong idea. When you love someone, you take them into your life and build yourself to some extent in the reality that they exist. I think they are then with you always. In your fleshl, in your body, your neurons, your endocrine system, they exist.

You may have kept someone with you in an embodied way too. The comments here belong to you.

I don’t show you this necklace because I’m sad, although I do cry sometimes when I least expect it. I show it to you because she’s still here, and how could I be silent about she who is here?

I’m waving at all of you who’ve lost someone, and kept them. And sending everyone best wishes for a wonderful weekend.




21 Responses

  1. I have always felt the people we love are always with us, a part of our very being, inseparable, and therefore they exist. How can we stop talking about something, or someone, that is such an essential part of our very nature? Sometimes more present than others. It makes me happy to know you have that necklace.

  2. I love that you can still carry Liz with you and she still brings you comfort. I always felt uncomfortable with gifts when younger and asked for a “no gifts” policy with friends and boyfriends. As I move through life and sometimes have to do that without loved ones who are no longer there, I can feel myself changing. Your post today exemplifies why. Sending you lots of love and thanks for the heartfelt hug your writing so often feels like. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. <3

    1. I LOVE Patti. She is my favorite Facebook follow. Funny as heck and wise besides. Thank you for reminding me of her quote.

  3. Such a beautiful and bittersweet post. When I was young, I’m not sure I would have agreed, or felt it was a platitude…but as I’ve gotten older, I concur completely. On a lighter note, I have very fond memories of Sanrio and Hello Kitty, with my daughter, and think the necklace is brilliant. Especially so because it’s “real” jewelry and therefore very cheeky. xo

    1. Thank you. And yes, I wouldn’t understand that people stay with you, because I thought they meant something hovering over your head, like a cartoon. But she feels as much a part of me as my elbow. Cheeky is the perfect word. Liz’s family was British, so she used the word “cheeky” all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were whispering in your ear.

  4. Absolutely agree! Our loved ones become part of us and our relationship with them carries on long after they’re gone — especially a relationship like you had with your best friend, who was a significant part of your daily life for so long. (I would imagine she might chime in when you get around to choosing the scarf you’ll wear with that outfit, for example. . . and then that scarf will join the necklace as mementos of her.)

    1. Ah, Frances, I will make sure that happens. That I will bring her with me in the choice.

  5. I realize it’s not the same, but I lost my beloved cat recently (the only family that I’ve got in Canada), and I’m dealing with the grief of it, so I can relate to carrying the loved one (even a pet) with you after their loss. And to physical items that reminds of our love for them. On top of that, at the same time, my mom was very sick in the hospital. The day after Leo’s sudden, middle-of-the-night death (by euthanasia), I had to fly to the US to be with my parents. My mom recovered, but there’s the shadow of that and the possibility of loss that lingers… And the loss of Leo has hit me stronger now that I’m home again without him. I’ve been thinking of keepsakes to help. Someone suggested his favourite little toys could become Christmas ornaments. Anyhow, I love that you have the Hello Kitty necklace as a tangible keepsake that brings back good memories of your dear friend.

    1. A beloved cat can be just as hard to lose as a best friend. I love the idea of his little favorite toys hiding in the branches of your Christmas tree.

    2. Jenny, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I just lost my cat as well, on February 1. He was a cuddly little warm ray of sunshine even on my saddest days, and losing him so suddenly left a horrible hole in my heart. I was never a “cat person,” but we kind of found each other at the right time. Now I can’t bear to see his toys go or move his bed away from the door; it’s ridiculous, but I feel like he’ll really be gone when his space is, so it isn’t. My dad’s had a health scare, too, since then, so I can feel exactly where you are. Sending you love and comfort. I hope you’ll stay and comment more.

  6. I like the slide shows that have come to be a feature of memorial services.
    Often by the time somone has passed all your recent memories are of their losing life years.
    It’s better to be transported into their full of life years. A a Kitty necklace that reminds you of a trip to a mall with your kids is a sweet memory to relive.

    1. So true. I remember at my dad’s slide show being shocked by how young he had been, even during my young adulthood.

  7. Your words resonate today. Those we love are always with us. I don’t know why but reading your post made me think of a Buddhist death ritual, as explained to me when my father passed away, so I may not have this exactly right, but the deceased stay with us for a few days to ensure that we the living are okay before moving on to another life.

  8. And so, then, this makes me feel less unusual that my thoughts and actions have turned to finding the perfect ‘somethings’ to give to the younger generation with the hope that after I am gone they will come upon them or wear them and remember our times and feelings together. I did such a thing with my grand-niece this weekend, gifting her a necklace and hoping as she marveled at it that when she needs courage in the future she will remember that Aunt Minnie knew she was absolutely marvelous.

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