Elegy for a Friend

Elegy for a Friend

A friend died of Covid this year
Her husband died, too, just days before.

Recently, I was walking in her neighborhood and I found myself passing the street where she lived.
Her house was empty, of course.
A single tree lifted bright, crimson flowers above the tangled yard.

Here once lived a woman who loved my son.

Whenever she saw him – typically at a symphony concert in our high school music hall – she fussed over him like one of her own. She even giggled.
And his face always lit up at seeing her.

I looked for her at these events.
They were special moments, times so normal in an otherwise abnormal time, when my son could feel the love of community.

As addiction took hold, it never mattered that Jacob grew sullen and withdrawn in his adolescent years.
Her eyes – at least – still twinkled at the sight of him.

She saw only the best in him, never feeling the fear that I did. The panic of not knowing where or how to get him help. The sinking feeling that he was falling farther and faster into addiction’s grip.

In those rare, concert hall moments life seemed almost happy. A snapshot of calm. An evening to feel safe, if only until the music ended.

Maybe she could see farther ahead than I. Maybe she saw the man Jacob would become, living a full, healthy life, celebrating years of recovery one day, one month, one year at a time.

I’ll never know, but I know that she loved him.

And I loved her for that.