Saturday, August 08, 2009

Miss you, Natalie.

About four and a half years ago, my good friend Natalie deliberately drank herself to death. It's harsh and horrible to even type those lines and I'm sorry to inflict them on you, my few, my lovely readers. But I miss her tonight. Ironically, she of all people is the person I could talk to about what I'm feeling about her death, and she would understand. And missing her is all mixed up with the awful circumstances of her death. Don't worry, I won't go into them here.

It's just that I saw an episode of a British TV series tonight called "Being Human." That in itself isn't remarkable, although the show is good fun for fans of the supernatural and I'd recommend it if you have BBC America. But there was this bit in it tonight where a ghost realizes that he finally resolved what he needed in order to "move on." He fell in love, even though he claimed not believe in love when he was alive. And so he gets to take the next step - whatever that means. He opens a door that wasn't there before and he goes through it, into a blue-ish light, and voila.

I kept thinking, throughout this - has Natalie moved on? Did she walk into a light? Is she at peace? Given the turbulence of her last year, she must be more at peace than when she was alive. And mostly I think that death brings an end to things, one way or the other.

And as I cried a bit and missed her and thought about all that I did and didn't do while she was still here, I realized how much her death affected me and my writing. Bits of her inform every page of the YA novel I wrote recently. And after she died I really got cracking on my writing. Nothing like having someone cut their life short to make you realize that you never know what's going to happen, so you better get on the stick NOW before you take your leave too. And I wanted to do the opposite of take my life. I wanted to live live live and do the things I'd dreamed of and make something of myself, rather than make nothing, which is what suicide does.

But it's hard. And even as I know I've made a lot of progress, a small thing like a scene in an English TV show can remind me of all that's gone and never will be. So even as I remember who and what I am and celebrate that and move forward, I miss Natalie. It took me awhile to miss her. That last year with her was tough. But tonight I wish I could call her up and tell her I love her and listen to her wild laugh.

And some small part of my writer's brain is thinking - use this. It'll make a good story some day. How horrible and awful is that? Natalie would appreciate it.


Wendy said...


Natalie would be delighted to help and "participate" in your writing. She was very proud of you as a person, a woman and a writer. What teriffic way to honor her.

Nina Berry said...

Thanks, Wen. Means a lot.