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Newport Independent - Newport, AR
  • Goodnight, my friend

  • Susan Leder was a friend of mine.
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  • Goodnight, my friend.
    Through the storm of countless silly and absurd words that make up my life there are moments where a few break through and arrange themselves in ways that cut through the protective layer of laughter where I keep my heart. Seven such words are doing so as I try to write this column, actually.
    Seven little words that dance and gambol about wildly through my mind as they rush throughout my body as if powered by every beat of a heart that seems to grow heavier with each passing moment. In a way it’s almost funny that someone who thinks of himself as someone never short on words or in ways to share them out into the world is himself held tight by the simplest of sentences.
    These seven words, you see, on their own are innocuous but linked together they prove much more immediate and unforgettable, much like the woman they concern. What words, you ask?
    Susan Leder was a friend of mine.
    From the first moment I met her to the last time we met in passing some months ago, she was my friend and am still amazed by that. Here was this charming woman enwreathed in the whitest bonnet of curly hair — a woman who seemed to know and love nearly everyone she came into contact with as if they were family (which many were) — and she always had a smile and a hug for me.
    I loved her for it then and I love her for it still.
    That love I felt and still feel for my friend is not lessened one whit now that she has left this world and moved on to the next. No, not even close.
    Just as she was the first time she met this overweight and unsure husband of one of her new coworkers as he wandered into the university library where she worked, I can see her there smiling at me. Go ahead, she told me then as I imagine her to tell me now, look around a bit and see everything that’s waiting to be discovered.
    Back then she was talking about the books I would eventually come to check out and voraciously read — libraries and the books within have always been a sacred place to me — but in my mind I hear that same sentiment telling me something similar about how those of us fortunate enough to have been Susan’s friend are going to have to live now.
    Go ahead, the voice tells me. Go ahead and take a look around and see all the wonderful things that are still out there. We are all connected together on this world and in this life and on those sorrowful days when you think that one part has been removed from the puzzle...think again.
    Page 2 of 2 - The world still spins. The stars still shine in the heavens above. The love we feel for family and friends is just as eternal.
    Though the dark of night may come as I sit before my friend and try to talk to her — robbing me of my sight and seeking to fool me that she is not there any more — I can still feel the love of her friendship and I can still feel the warmth of her smile. That’s kind of how I have come to think of it; death is just the night that blinds our eyes to what the next day will bring. Eventually the light returns...
    Susan Leder was a friend of mine...and she always will be.
    Goodnight, my friend.

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