Sunday, May 9, 2010


There are some events in your life that you wish you could just think about and not have to share with anyone. I believe that when someone we love dies, we may try to put feelings of grief and sadness into that category. Many people publicly grieve at the funeral but the larger part of grief happens alone, without the comfort that others can bring. If you are lucky, your mind eventually won't let you grieve alone in your head for long and life will give you a way to express your pain to others so you can manage life.

I recently had a friend pass and his passing has and will cause a ripple of changes amongst everyone who knew him. Although I have a supportive family and my friends family to rely on, I as well did the majority of my "healing" alone, driving to and from work in my Honda, sobbing through traffic. A month later my mind and spirit gave me an outlet to manage my grief. What I am about to say now may seem self indulgent but that is at times writing's very nature. Since our friends death, before this moment, I have been unable to write a word. My mind and emotions have organized a writing paralysis. I finally admitted to myself why, I was trying to resume my writing like nothing had happened, but something had, someone who I had cared for had passed. The only way for me to write again would be to write about Sasha Victory. I can only hope that I can do him justice.

The loss of our young friend is sprinkled with a plethora of emotions some regretful, some hopeful but all intense. That is the one fitting word that I can without a doubt use for this loss and the person himself, intense. He lived with a strong pull around him that nobody ever wished to resist and intense musical ability. Thankfully, his band mates both present and past have joined together although miles apart from so that his sounds will never be lost.

After the funeral services for Sasha, his family had the grace and strength to plan a reception in his honor. Catered by his favorite restaurant and accompanied by the music played by his own hands we laughed and wept. Old friends and strangers alike embraced and laughed genuine laughs and wiped away the most sincere of tears. Our magnetic friend would have laughed to see the mingling of his worlds and his mother and his new love being cradled in the warm arms of friends from all stops on his life's journey. Sasha would have laughed his contagious, physical open mouthed laugh, eyes shining behind dark lashes, woolly arms slapping his lap.

There was a moment towards the end of the evening where the lights were turned down low, my nephew lay in the corner playing his hand-held video game. The glow of the screen comforted me. Grown folks in dresses and suits huddled together on the floor with various instruments, playing along with a recording made during Sasha's intense and full life. In that moment Sasha's friends played the soundtrack of his life, sometimes smooth, sometimes riddled with jagged tones and heartbreaking mistakes, often played with love, laughter and tears. The drums became his heartbeat and the guitars, changing hands from musician to musician, wrote his biography in musical notes and sounds. Sasha was in that moment. I am forever changed by that moment.

During the celebration of Sasha's life, that fantastic display of love and respect for our friend, when people danced, cried and played instruments, I sat. I first sat alone and watched, I then even tried to join in. I could not, I wanted to belong to that moment from deep in my being but could not. It was not the way that I could celebrate him, writing these words for him is.

So, this will be my reception for you my childhood friend. Thank you for playing with me, all chubby and awkward as I was in the lonely school yard at Kew Forest, thanks for finding it amusing that I, your best friend's little sister, had a innocent crush on you, thank you for being a true friend to my brother Chris and loving his kids. Thank you for throwing yourself into everything you did with intensity,and making the last days of your life about helping others. Thanks for inspiring me to grieve in my own way as well as live it.