Please forgive me

please forgive me
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

I wrote this months ago and have hesitated in posting it until now. I can’t say why except that it’s putting a piece of my heart out here.

I think that’s called being “vulnerable“. Here goes.

Even though my friend passed away over a year ago, his memory is often with me. Every once in a while, I’ll see an older man on the street and think of *Craig. Then I’ll remember some random thing he told me or some funny mannerism of his.

Please forgive me if I act a little strange

I am the most normal person you would meet but my dreams? They are not always normal. They’re too vivid. My intuitions are disturbing. Calling home just because I know something isn’t quite right, leaves people unsettled..

One night, I had the sweetest dream about my old friends. Before I tell you about the dream, I want to explain who these friends of mine were, what they meant to me. ..

These friends were a childless couple, twenty years older than me. Our friendship would span over twenty years. *Lorraine and I used  to go to the same fitness classes.  I was new to the city, newly married and in my early 20’s. I recall this being a lonely time in my life.

When Lorraine befriended me, I was delighted. She was fun and dressed in funky aerobics outfits. I still recall when she bought her first sporty BMW. She drove it over to my townhouse, unannounced to show it off. She looked so cute behind the wheel.

The first time she asked me to her house she told me specifically that Craig, her husband, wanted to meet me. I was kind of surprised because usually husbands don’t take an interest in their wive’s friends. Craig was unique though as I would soon find out.

They gave me a small, silver whale ornament that day. They gave it to me for no special reason other than to remind me of my home on the West Coast. It wasn’t even my birthday.

Two decades later I would call them my “Edmonton parents” even though they were more fun than parents could ever be.  My actual parents didn’t live close to me while Craig and Lorraine, they lived a few blocks away.

When I first divorced, they were there for me. We drank wine. I sat in the ‘crying chair’ (they called it). I can tell you there was far more laughter than tears.

But long before my divorce,  Craig and I would sit and talk about stuff; tattoos, books, my children, family, his work…we just seemed to talk about everything. He listened to me without judgment. His wife was our common denominator. We both loved her.

Without children of their own, Lorraine enjoyed mine when I became a mother. She loved babies. She babysat once in a while and her and my daughter got into mischief. I recall one evening I had gone out to write an exam and was very pregnant with my son. When I got home, all the lights were on, there was loud giggling and the sound of pitter-patter upstairs. It was obvious Lorraine had failed at getting my toddler to bed. Then there were the clothes flying down the laundry chute…

As the years passed, I helped Craig expand his model airplane collection. I bought him one every Christmas. One year, I think it was around 1990, he bought a framed print that he proudly showed me. He told me I had inspired his buying it, after he had admired one hanging in my home. My black and white print was of a man and woman sitting on a suitcase, presumably saying goodbye. Craig’s framed print featured an airplane, and a couple embracing. It was quite romantic and I believe showed a side of Craig that he didn’t often express except with Lorraine.

As my divorce progressed, Lorraine distanced herself without an explanation. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. I was pretty hurt by the loss. So, years later,  I was surprised when Craig reached out on facebook. I accepted his friend request. The pain of the loss didn’t completely go away though as facebook was certainly a poor substitute for the friendship we once shared.

In any case, I agreed to meet Craig and Lorraine on my next visit (I had since moved back to the West Coast). We met for coffee. He told me he had beat cancer. Shocked, I had no idea of his battle. I could only look into his face and now see the weight loss, the shaved head. We kept the conversation light but caught up on each others’ lives.

We three promised to meet again. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel the gap in our friendship was unresolved. Accepted maybe, but not resolved.

One night, about a year later, I had a sweet dream. I was in a Piazza ( a square in Italy). I always enjoy going to a foreign country in my dreams, don’t you? It was night-time and there was a dog at my feet. Suddenly I noticed Craig and Lorraine sitting at a cafe table with warm smiles on their faces. I walked over to them, naturally, and they embraced me like no time had passed. We decided to go to their home, like old times. I didn’t question how their home could be suddenly in Italy, it just made sense. We walked through what was reminiscent of their real-life home I used to visit but it was different.

The notable thing about this dream, was the feeling of love and acceptance it ensconced. I felt this comfortable reassurance.  We were laughing and joking like old times. Then I awoke.

Later that week, I saw a facebook post in my newsfeed. “RIP Craig”, it said with a familiar photo of him. I was shocked and had to re-read it several times to believe it.

Learning of his death in such an impersonal way seemed to add to the sting. It was a heart attack, I learned later when I called Lorraine with my condolences.

But the dream. Suddenly I remembered it from a few nights before. It bore new meaning.

Please forgive me if I act a little strange

Was my psychic instinct kicking in again? I can’t even explain why or when it occurs. It just does.

I will always miss Craig because he understood me. While many of the relationships with men in my life have been difficult, Craig was one who never once judged me and always valued my opinion. Did I feel his passing? Yes, I believe I did. He said goodbye to me in his way and with that he reassured me “Lisa, you’re going to be just fine.”—something he used to say to me often.

I miss you Craig. I miss our Sunday talks. I miss the crying chair. I miss the way you always hugged me. Remember? You always said I taught you how to give a proper hug. I miss your laugh, the funny one that you would blurt out when I said something that amused you. It was the most unique laugh I’ve ever heard and always ended with a single clap of your hands.

You were a unique guy. I wish I had a chance to say goodbye to you—well maybe I did in my dream.

Let’s close this out with David Gray. this song seemed to spark this whole reminiscence of Craig and my weird dreams…

This post was written in memory of my late friend, Craig.

*Names have been changed.

Did you ever lose someone without getting to say goodbye? Did/does your divorce change your friendships?

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31 Replies to “Please forgive me”

  1. What a warm and touching tribute! Lisa, this brought tears in my eyes. Such friends are so rare and losing them suddenly, without saying goodbye leaves a lingering desire…but even when we get an opportunity to see somebody in pain, the meeting keeps hurting. Meeting Craig in dream could be the sweetest good bye.

    I couldn’t say good bye to my dad who met with a fatal accident. Though he was taken to the hospital, none of his children could see him because we were considered too young and were miles away. Even when we were taken to his funeral, we were kept away from looking at him till one of the relatives convinced my uncle to let the children see the face of their father for the last time. It has been the most painful memory of my life.
    Balroop Singh recently posted…A Spectacular Marvel Of Nature: #CraterLakeMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Balroop. I’m so sorry to hear about your father and that painful memory for you. As a young child, you must have been very confused trying to come to grips with the fact your father wouldn’t be coming back.

  2. Oh, Lisa…

    *HUGS*

    This is a beautiful post, and a wonderful look at your friendship to Lorraine and Craig. I love their crying chair. The hugs. The painting. The whale necklace, and clearly what these beautiful people were like together, and apart. I’m sorry your friendship with Lorraine drifted over the years… and of course I’m deeply sorry about your loss. Especially hearing it that way–via Facebook–after all you shared, it’s an extra hurt.

    Also, this song. It really brings me back <3 Thanks so much for sharing–I haven't thought about it in ages.

    Sending all my love to you, Lisa.
    Charlotte recently posted…Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soulMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Charlotte. 🙂 The crying chair was a classic. When a friendship spans that long, you go through different things together. ya gotta love social media, right? Finding out that way was pretty blunt. The song really brings back memories for me too. I first drafted this up after listening to that song. Thanks for hugs and kind words, Charlotte. xxoo

    1. It really was. Thanks, Chrys and I think I must have. I’ve had other times where I’ve dreamed of someone or something and it correlates shortly after in real life. 😛 Is this a gift or curse? LOL.

  3. You don’t have to apologize for sharing this. You are not being strange or weird, you are being human.

    I am so sorry for your loss. It’s always hard to lose a person that we truly care about, and even more difficult if we can’t even say a proper goodbye. But in your case, I think you did manage to say good-bye, if not in the traditional way.

    And I know this will sound extremely cheesy, but I really believe that the ones we love always stay with us, even after they are gone, because even if they aren’t there with us anymore, a part of them will always be a part of us, and so long as we are alive, that part will always be present within us.
    Shantala recently posted…Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg – Book ReviewMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Shantala. Your words are very comforting. Some people think reading into dreams is *crazy*. This: “part of them will always be a part of us, and so long as we are alive, that part will always be present within us.” That is such a lovely and comforting sentiment. We never lose the memories.

  4. Hugs, Lisa, and thank you so much for sharing a piece of your heart. <3 <3
    I commiserate with you about being hurt by the distance. I remember one of my closer friends distanced herself at a point in my divorce and I was so hurt by that as well–this friend had babysat my kids, had sat with me the night the TRO was served to my ex hubby…eventually, I learned to accept that it was just too much for her to cope with, and she needed to take care of herself by keeping her distance…I still feel sad when I think about it, and I'm so sorry that you had to go through that too. Love and friendship can be bittersweet sometimes. Thank you for sharing these moments with us. <3 <3 <3

    1. Hi Jane, I’m sorry to hear about your friend. She was the rock you needed. It’s especially hard to lose a friend when they have a relationship with your kids, too. Love and friendship are certainly bittersweet and there’s truth to the statement that it’s better to have loved and lost then to not have loved at all. At least, in this case, it’s better to have had a friend like Craig and lose him, then not have known him at all. It’s true that some people grow weary and uncomfortable with the divorce process (same with death, loss or tragedy) and decide to cut off a friend. I believe that’s exactly what happened with Lorraine. I still don’t know for sure the *why* but it doesn’t matter anymore. It just is. Friends are with us for a season, a reason or a lifetime. I think Craig was in my life for the first two. Your friend was the second one. She was your angel on earth.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss Lis. Having recently lost someone special too, I can commiserate. But in answer to your question, yes, the dream was a message. I’ve heard so many stories from people who dream of someone or feel their presence on hours or days before they pass. That usually happens with those loved ones we have a special bond with. Thank you for sharing your story. It was a sad, but beautiful tribute. <3
    dgkaye recently posted…Comment on #WATWB – Girl’s Singing Puppets Hilariously Snub Her In Show-Stopping AGT Finale. by dgkayeMy Profile

    1. Hi Debby, I’m sorry for your loss, too. It’s similar in that you didn’t get to say goodbye. I’m glad to hear you say other people have similar stories re: the dream. It’s happened more than once to me so I suppose it will happen again. Thanks, Debby!

    1. Aw, thank you, Kim. This was a long one but the friendship was long as well. The things we leave unsaid are the worst…yet there is no way of knowing. Yes, I’ve talked to her a few times since Craig passed but haven’t seen her (tried to). xxoo

  6. This is so heart touching Lisa. Thank you for writing your feelings here and sharing them with us. It’s so hard not being able to say goodbye to the ones we love. It looks like you had a special relationship with Craig. Maybe your dream was a way to say goodbye.
    When my grandad passed away, I was in a plane wich was delayed. I arrived too late to say goodbye. It’s hard. But then I started writing and talking to him in my prayers. It does help.

    Sending your warm hugs and much love. xoxo
    Marie Kléber recently posted…A girl with wingsMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Marie. I think Craig said goodbye to me. I’m sorry to hear about your grandad and the unfortunate timing. Sending warm hugs right back to you, Marie xxoo thanks for sharing here.

    1. Thanks, Tamara. I love that song, too and for some reason sparked me to write this post. I left in draft form for months though. You have experienced many losses! I hope you are spared from losing a close friend. I guess we have to cherish every moment we have with our favorite people because no one is here forever.

  7. Oh Lisa, what a story, what an incredible friendship you had with both of these people and such a devastating loss. I’m so glad you shared such an intimate view into these friends and the impact they had on your life. My heart broke reading about the unfortunate times where they failed you, but I’m SO glad there was also the redeeming connection and you hold such beautiful memories too.

    I’m not surprised you had this dream- I think so very often, God nudges us, whispers to us, and reveals things to us in extraordinary ways. What a gift it is when that happens. <3
    Christine Carter recently posted…Do You Know The Real Jesus? Let’s Talk About The TruthMy Profile

    1. Hi Chris, yes they were pivotal people in my life. Lorraine was dear to me. I guess we learn to let go and Yes I do believe that dream was a message. I LOVE when that happens because it is rare. Thanks Chris xxoo

  8. This is one heck of an amazing, emotional and such a heartfelt post, Lisa. I’m sure Craig would be smiling down at it, and in a way, a great tribute to the person he was and is in all memories of him. How amazing it is to have someone in your life as a friend who didn’t judge you, someone you can count on. So sorry to hear that the friendship when distant and that dream seemed to strike at such a coincidental time – but it sounds like a dream you will remember for a while.

    I absolutely feel terrible if I don’t get to say goodbye to someone that matters to me, be it them passing on or ever moving to another town or job. Not too sure how to explain it, but I am the kind of person who likes to invest in others and get to know them as much as possible if I find them interesting, and be a part of their lives in a better way, no matter how small.
    Mabel Kwong recently posted…Asian, Quiet And Introverted? It’s Just The Way I AmMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Mabel. 😀 I’m certain Craig is loving this one! The dream is in the memory vault. It’s best to say goodbye but I think life is full of unexpected endings. At least we have our memories.

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