It’s been two years now, since my friend Ann died. I feel a little guilty that the day has slipped by, and I haven’t spent as much time thinking about her, remembering her. I guess this is what happens with time – the grieving lessens, but the tradeoff is that the memories sometimes do as well.
I feel like I should be saying something profound here, but I’m at a loss. It’s been two years. I haven’t cried today. The moments when I do think back and reflect on her life, on her passing – I’ve gotten sad. But no crying.
For a long while after her funeral, there was a phase where I would talk with her. Not in any kind of real way – it’s not like she was answering me or anything. But when I was home, I’d be going about my chores and I’d say stuff. Out loud. To her. I felt like I could hear her, that I could imagine what she might say.
I guess, during those first weeks, I kept trying to imagine her still around – so much so that I wound up talking out loud to her. It felt pretty good, and I think it did end up helping, doing that. I could hear her voice, her opinions of things, her teasing me, her laughter.
I dug around tonight, looking for something I might be able to post on here. Something I could share with you all, who didn’t know her. Since I’m a pack rat, I tracked down a folder full of floppy disks and papers from our time in grad school together.
Ann and I both attended the creative writing MFA program at Ohio State University. There, each graduating class has a final “reading,” where their professors introduce them, and each student shares some work of theirs (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) to families and friends in attendance. It’s akin to a graduation ceremony, but focused more on the writing. Ann and I were both poets in the program.
And since I helped create the event handouts (we printed hard copies of all the work being read), I still have this folder with everyone’s diskette and originals. Including Ann’s.
I also ended up recording the entire graduation ceremony (also known as “Epilog”), and have recordings of all my classmates. Below, I’m including two audio bits: the first is Kathy Fagan’s introduction; the second is Ann reading one of her poems.
Thinking about talking with Ann and her voice… I thought I’d share some audio. With these snippets into her life, I wanted to let you see what those of us who knew her saw: her humor, her quirkiness, her sense of wonder. Her vibrancy.
Kathy Fagan: Introduction
Ann Paeth: Epilog Reading