Dangerous Compassions

the loss of a friend

There was a death in our community.  The lady who was here a week and a half ago, asking for a place to stay.  Her life was spiraling, and I’m sorry. 

It’s disturbing she was here so recently, hugging me, holding my hand, saying she loved me.  You know I usually like all that.  But there’s a reason she’d lost her job, her boyfriend dumped her, and her roommate was kicking her out.  Her behavior was very difficult to be around.  Everyone was pulling away.

“Tell me all your health problems,” she said to me.

“No,” I said.

“Tell me all your health problems!” she said.  “I’m a healer–I heal people all the time.  I’m very holistic.”  The last thing I wanted was this lady messing with my health–my actual body, my astral body, anything–I wanted none of that.

“If you don’t tell me, I’ll get him to tell me,” she said, gesturing to Ming.  It felt chilling that she was trying to force me to open up to her.  Intimacy is a sweet thing, freely given, but her pushing and threatening me was freaking me out.

Then she violated Ming’s boundaries also, in a few different ways.  Ming gave into demands rather than fight her persistence.

Before, I would have let her stay here, gritted my teeth and put up with her bad behavior for three nights.  But I have no wiggle room, lately.  My resources are so low, one moment of fuckery is too much.  I’m done sacrificing myself for anyone, let alone a difficult, judgmental person I barely knew.

Also, three nights wasn’t going to save her.  So much erratic and chaos, pain and disconnect, weird weird ideas, pushiness.  Trying and failing.

I want to be there for people, but I’m done letting anyone hurt me.  We can’t do more than we can do.  I used to try, but I have no reserves now–what little I have, I need.  Trying to give away the small amount of life-force I have is a bad idea.  I need to heal.

But it’s very strange, this huge personality who was in our house so recently is now a corpse, the hands I held now ashes, her spirit hopefully flying around elsewhere.  All her struggles with health, money, relationships are over now.  The boxes of her stuff are irrelevant.  Her needs are vanished.  She tried and tried, but that’s over.

She loved the pasta salad I made.  I listened to her, fed her, sympathized, tried to help her problem-solve.  Ming picked her up from the transit station.  She would txt me and call me in the middle of the night.  She wouldn’t reply when I tried to reach her in the day, but she would try to reach me in the middle of the night, and I wasn’t doing that. 

A lot of her txts didn’t make sense.  It was uncomfortable the way they almost made sense.  It was like talking to someone who’s half-asleep when at first you don’t know they’re half-asleep.

“Do you think I’m a bad person?” she asked me, months ago.  She seemed drunk.

“No,” I told her.  “I don’t know you all that well, but you seem like a good person to me.”

I’m 42 years old and still completely freaked out by death, confused by its finality.  How can someone be so alive, then so dead.  Where did the life go, and what was the point of all of that.  It takes a while to comprehend the away-ness.  Her txts are in my phone, my memories are fresh.

On facebook, people are calling her an angel.  How giving she was, dedicated.

The people who want to heal others but can’t heal themselves.  If I had liked drugs, that could have been me.  We had a lot in common, but I’ve been fortunate in many ways.

Life is weird, but death is weirder.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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