I meant to write this last week, but I didn’t. Maybe I was too busy. Or maybe I forgot. Or maybe I just didn’t feel like dealing with the emotions. I could, I suppose, offer any number of reasons that seem quite valid, but really aren’t valid at all. I thought about writing about Stacey, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I couldn’t, and I couldn’t because it hurts too much to think about her. And then I realized that she deserves better than that—better than me hiding from the truth that this time of year is full of pain and sadness, and the mournful missing of a dear friend that has been gone so long I have trouble remembering what she she looked like without seeing a picture.
Stacey Duncan was like my kid sister. The picture above is us back in 1980. My mom and her mom were close friends when they were both pregnant, and Stacey and I literally shared the same crib. She was three months younger than me, and she was one of my oldest friends in the world. Last week was the nineteenth anniversary of her death. I spent Christmas 1994 on a plane, bound for Atlanta, to bury my kid sister. The holidays were never the same after that. Life was never the same after that. Everything became very finite. Death was more real than it had ever been.
It’s become impossible for me to separate this time of year from Stacey’s death. If she were alive, she’d turn 45 in February. Her daughter is now just a year or so younger than Stacey was—she’s spent the last nineteen Christmases without her mother. Really, that’s all I wanted to write. I simply wanted to acknowledge that nearly twenty years have passed since the death of my old, dear friend. I think of her often, miss her as much as I think of her, and wish that things could have been different. Most of all, I try to remind myself of how precious all of this really is.