You don’t need to know the “preamble” to this post, but I’ll give you one anyway.
I was in the middle of applying to an artistic Residency for this spring, searching for a current acting resume on my desktop–a task which should take 3 seconds but proved difficult due to recent computer switching and lack of backup skills. Oh, and also the fact that I haven’t dusted the thing off for a “while”–I’m being purposely vague because it’s been that long. So, in my frustration, I did what any Professional Procrastinator-still-in-mourning-for-the-card-catalogue would do: I started looking through old email folders. It feeds a semi-dangerous Nostalgic need. After a few searches for “resume” and “Susan resume”, I gave up and popped over to a folder I haven’t visited in ages: Dan
If you’ve never lost your favorite person on the Planet, you might not realize that reading an old email–seeing a photo–these things could not be traded for all the Teslas in San Francisco. They are archival gold–no, platinum. The thing about grief I’ve found to be true is also the advice I offered to my friend in my latest podcast, Q Before A
Distance, space, time…as they increase between the before and the after of loss, so, magically–because only magic could perform such an alchemical shift–does reality. And within this New Reality lies the possibility, once again, for happiness.
Put more simply (flamboyantly wordy alert!), time passed, and now I am able to smile when I look at some of these saved messages. I enter my mental time machine and go back to those moments, so far away now, and remember–
Ah, yes–it was real. It actually happened. We loved each other that much.
And so in this spirit of rediscovering the old and making it new again, I resurrect this email from the “Dan” folder–unearthed with a gratitude sometimes muted by the weight of grief. I share this, personal as it is, because these days I prefer to live in Reality. And you’ll know this is Real because of the double-spaces between sentences (now we all use only one); you’ll know it’s Real because I point out my own tendency to ramble (forever a user of disclaimers); you’ll know it’s Real because true love transmits itself through syntax and diction; you’ll know it’s Real because it was “Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile”…
November 19, 2007 (10 years after we met; 1 year before Dan’s cancer diagnosis):
This is your lovely wife of 3 years writing to wish you the happiest birthday ever because you deserve it, and because this day of accepting a new job also marks the most important step to date in your working life. I say “to date” because there is so much more to come that we can’t possibly see, and even if these events or steps are difficult, we can also sit back and enjoy THAT ride because we know what these ups and downs are all about. We can handle them.
In lieu of rambling I will close with this: I am a lucky girl for many reasons, but the most important is that unlike most people who, at best, get to know you, I get to experience you and everything that encompasses you. You took time out of your day to compile and read what I wrote. No one else is that loved. (Period). (.) This fact is something amazing-an experience uniquely mine, and even in my worst moments, I don’t forget that.
So, I wish I could throw a parade in your honor or name November 19th “Daniel L Fritz” Day, but until I have that much power, you will have to settle for these words: “Happy Birthday, Dan. I love you.”
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
There was so much we couldn’t have seen…perhaps the best argument I know against fortune-telling or psychic abilities. It makes me feel good about myself and the love we shared that I didn’t know. I saw what was in front of my face, enjoying the splendid grace of the present by anticipating a beautiful future.
I was that loved.