Monday, February 8, 2010

to my friend sylvia

i miss you. i met you only once, but i really miss you. when i typed that last sentence, i missed you. because you are the one who taught me where "only" goes. like, if i had said "i only met you once," then i would have meant, for example, that i had only MET you, not spoken with you.

remember when we first met? online. i think you were my first real online friend. although at first it was all business. you picked me for a disk edit, and somehow--because, big shocker, i don't exactly hold my cards close to the vest--we struck up a conversation. i told you i was pregnant, and that it was a ... big... surprise. and that my husband had lost his job.

you shared with me how you were from canada, how you missed your mother, how you lovingly and painstakingly knitted sweaters for your brother every christmas.

i asked for feedback every time i sent a job back to you. i do this with every project editor, but you... well, of course, you were different. you took the time to write back, every time. you pointed out things i had missed, ways i could improve, things to watch out for, different ways to tag the copy for the typesetter.

all of this you did out of love, without ever having met me. here's a secret: even though i always asked for feedback, critiques, ways to improve, i never really wanted to hear anything besides "you did a great job!" but somehow, the way you gently admonished, encouraged, prodded, i never felt criticized.

there were times i overdid it, and you would tell me how mad an author was about things i had changed. remember that time i decided that all the parenthetical statements should be surrounded by em dashes instead? yeah, that annoyed the author. or that time i took out all the quote marks? the author really had overused them. but he wanted them put back in.

or that time i edited a book by a woman who had actually spent time with the T@liban (don't really want people searching for that group and ending up here...)?

i sent you a card, but i think it got there too late. i know i had already thanked you a thousand times over, but i really wanted to tell you one last time what i think of you, what you mean to me.

during that dark time, i think of you as sort of my guardian angel. i think people throw that term around, "guardian angel," but that's how i see you. you are the reason we were able to sustain ourselves during that time. you didn't let me go a day without a job. every chance you had, you sent me a book. you even sneaked them past beverly. (if you are reading, bev, don't get mad, not that i think you ever read my blog...but just in case.) you would say, "just don't tell anyone."

and remember the time you were going to be in town at the sewing expo? you wanted to get together. rhys was about 6 months old, i think. i was nervous. i had never done anything like that before: meet someone in person i'd met only via email (see, there's that placement of "only" again.).

but even though i was nervous i couldn't say no. so we met, and we ate mexican, and you treated me to lunch. and it was so nice sitting across the table from you, exchanging stories, smiles.

you were old enough to be my grandmother (although just barely), but i never would have guessed it by your spirit. you were really young at heart.

and speaking of your heart, i am not sure i've ever met a person with a bigger one than you, sylvia.

i miss you.


amy said...

sweet post. i am sorry for your loss.

krystal said...

i'm glad you wrote this. i remember you talking about Sylvia at the time and so reading this made me feel as though i missed her a myself. by the way, have i ever told you how thankful i am for you, my friend?

Tabitha and Larry said...

So beautiful. I wish words poured out of my heart like these. I'm sorry for your loss friend.
Hugs- Tabitha

Sara said...

So beautiful just like my sis. You will be writing my eulogy, right??? :)

jen said...

I feel so incredibly lame because I never knew Sylvia existed. I wanted to ask you about your friend who died this weekend but it just didn't seem like the right time. I just want you to know that Brian is not the only one in my thoughts right now because he lost a friend.

kristi said...

amy, thank you, my friend.

krystal, yes, you have, but it's always nice to hear it again, right?

tab, i don't know if words pour out of your heart like this, but i definitely know that photographs do. it's the only explanation for the jaw-dropping way you capture people's emotions.

sara, i do not want to be thinking about your eulogy, so shut it ok?

jen, quit beating yourself up. you have a really great excuse: med school...i don't feel unloved by you so just knock it off!

sew nancy said...

what as nice post to honor your friend

Amelia Plum said...

Kristi, that's such a beautiful post for Sylvia. I'm really sorry for your loss. But, at the same time, it doesn't seem like a true loss because Sylvia's kindness and bigheartedness live on in you, with the way you honor her memory. I think she looked out for you because she might have seen a kindred spirit in you. Grieving is very difficult but if you loved someone they're never truly gone, they stay in your heart and mind.

Amelia Plum said...

forgot to mention that i love the photo. it's beautiful and very fitting with the post. xox

elise said...

I second all the comments and am also happy for your gain. Sylvia seems to continue to add so much richness to your life. Wonderful wonderful post! xxx