Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Sadness

*** note: this post is pure stream of consciousness, with little to no editing***

Facebook is such an interesting beast – it can allow you to do something as inane as finding out what your friends are eating for lunch to something as deep as reconnecting with old friends (you know, the ones who you’ve thought “I wonder what ever happened to . . .”).  And then there is the downside to facebook – finding out information you would have rather not known.  This week I found out about two deaths via facebook in almost as many days, and I have to say, I might just be taking a little facebook break as a result.

Aaron is now in Chicago for one of his best friend’s mom’s funeral.  I didn’t know her that well, but we were facebook friends and she “liked” pictures of Guinevere and seemed like a very nice person.  I will never forget the kindness she and her husband showed to us when Aaron’s dad passed.  They made us dinner one night, and it felt like an extension of Aaron’s family.  When I learned of her passing, all the old memories of that horrible time when Aaron’s dad died came flooding back.  No one wants to lose their parents, and especially not suddenly.  Guinevere and I stayed home for several reasons: a) cost, b) baby + December in Chicago = no fun.  Fortunately, my mom was able to come up and help take care of Guinevere while Aaron is away.

Last night, I was scrolling through facebook and saw a post mentioning my childhood friend, Recenah.  I thought to myself, “Oh yay!  I haven’t heard anything from her in awhile, I wonder what she’s up to.”  Then I read the post.  It was an in memorium post.  She passed away on Saturday.  I just stared at my computer screen, jaw dropped, tears welling in my eyes.  I just kept thinking, “no no no, people my age aren’t supposed to die.”  I don’t know what happened.  I don’t know if she was sick or if it was sudden or anything like that.  Recenah was one of those friends who I had always wondered about throughout the years and was so glad to find her on facebook and reconnect.

Recenah and I had been best friends growing up.  We were inseparable.  Her family lived three doors down from mine.  We spent summers sleeping over at each other’s houses.  We would play Uno literally all night long – except, neither of us knew how to shuffle.  So we would ask my dad to shuffle for us, and then after he went to bed, our version of shuffling was to just spread the cards around all over the floor and swirl them together.  We swapped clothes and hair ideas.  One summer, my parents got a new refrigerator and we played in the boxes for about a month straight.  I’ll never forget watching Indiana Jones over and over while sitting in those boxes.  Recenah introduced me to my first video games.  She had Nintendo and we played the heck out of Super Mario Bros. and laughed at the dog from Duck Hunt. 

We went to Girl Scout camp together several summers in a row.  I was there to comfort Recenah when she was kicked in the shin by a horse, and when she got completely sunburnt in Catalina.  Her family took me camping with them in their RV, which I thought was cool because my family camped in tents.  It was fun to see how the “comfortable people” did it.  (for the record, I prefer tent camping now, I just liked the novelty of RV camping).  In addition to camping, my family took her skiing with us at Mammoth.  That was such a fun trip!  My parents rented a condo and there was a Jacuzzi outside in the snow!   Recenah and I also took several trips to Disneyland together – she loved Mr. Toad, I tolerated it, but we could both agree on Haunted Mansion and Pirates.

Her family moved out to Ramona (about 45 minutes to an hour away) when we were about 12, but she kept going to the local junior high with me.  Her mom would drop her off at my house in the morning and then we’d walk to school together.  Then we’d hang out after school until her mom came to get her.  We were both in drama together and loved being “theatrical.” (i.e. putting on shows for our families and recording made up “radio shows” on my tape recorder)

We went to separate high schools – mine in Mira Mesa, and hers in Ramona.  That’s when we started to drift apart.  It wasn’t as easy to stay in touch back then.  There was no email or texting or facebook.  You had to actually pick up a phone and call someone and have a real conversation, or write a letter, or visit.  We each got busy with our own lives and eventually lost touch.  I think the last time I saw her was at some point senior year in high school.  She came down to visit along with some of her Ramona friends.

I will forever be glad that we were able to reconnect before she passed.  I got to see pictures of her son and read posts about how excited she was to be going to school again.  We had exchanged a couple messages trying to get together at some point when I was in San Diego, but we never quite made it work.

I’ve had such a heavy heart this weekend.  So much of who I am today is because of our friendship so long ago.  I am sad that we weren’t in closer contact later in life, but I’m also glad that we were in at least some contact.  Her impact on my life will never be forgotten.

Recenah, me, and our friend Ava at my 16th birthday party.

And because I am such a musical theatre nerd, I'd like to leave you all with some of the lyrics of a song that has been running through my head. 

For Good (from Wicked):
(Glinda) I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

(Elphaba) It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

(Glinda) Because I knew you

(Both) I have been changed for good


  1. Oh, Brenda, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you had these two wonderful women in your life, it's clear they enriched it, even if only in small ways (or significant ways a long time ago). You and your family are in my thoughts tonight. Much love.

  2. I'm so sorry, Brenda. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your friend. By keeping these memories alive, you are also keeping her spirit alive through you. I know that there is nothing one can say to make you feel any differently than you need to feel right now. I lost my sister a few years ago and all I can say is that only time can help ease the pain. Remember all the good times and be thankful that in this short existence we have on this planet, you were able to have that special period of time with your good friend who has helped you in becoming the amazing person that you are today. So much love for you.

  3. It's a funny thing, what happens when you scan through the internet and decide to look up pictures. A year already... it has been awhile. To give some explanation, this is actually my mother... Now that's just depressing. :/

    1. Oh wow. I'm so glad you stumbled upon my blog. I had seen pictures of you on Recenah's fb page and had been hoping to meet you at some point. I hope you are doing ok.