I spent last week in Maine with T, my siblings, their significant others, and a few of our friends. I'm going to gloss over most of the rest of the trip and zero in on one event that was really special and meaningful to me: visiting the grave of an old friend, E, in a cemetery in Bath. She was someone my siblings and I started hanging out with around the time that I went off to college; when I returned for summer break after my freshmen year, there she was, all smiles and sarcasm. And Troubles as well, though these were mostly under control when we met her. E's Troubles reappeared over the next few years, though, and we drifted apart. Eventually, Troubles got the better of her, and she died. Maybe I'm supposed to say that poetically. She shuffled off this mortal coil. She slipped the surly bonds of earth. No. She fucking died. And there was nothing poetic about it.
Walking away from her casket after the wake was the worst I ever felt in my life, and that is not something that I say lightly. I remember reading her obituary and wondering if I'd ever make it up to Maine to pay my respects properly at her grave. I'm glad that I did, though of course I forgot to bring a rock to leave on it.
Funny story: while we were walking around the cemetery searching for the grave, my sister (I kid you not) fell in a hole up to her knee. She lost her shoe, and her husband had to reach his entire arm into the hole to retrieve it. We couldn't stop laughing. E would have LOVED that; she would have made us roll-play it over and over again until we were too sick from laughing to do it any more. In fact, the whole episode was such a classic E moment that it almost makes me believe she set it up for us from the afterlife; and that, too, is not something I say lightly.