Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hemingway Daiquiri: A cocktail and a prayer for a friend …


I received difficult news Friday night that I’ve not been able to shake all weekend.

Just before 11pm, an email alert popped up on my phone from an old friend of eight years. I met Phyllis through a brief eHarmony encounter I had with someone. My relationship with him didn’t last but he introduced me to her, his best friend, and she and I started an email friendship. In the beginning we wrote often, but like most things, it eventually tapered off considerably. We did occasionally keep in touch over the years, even meeting up a few times for a meal and/or a movie. 

The first and second times I met Phyllis, the eHarmony gentleman was with us. We had just started spending time together and he wanted us to meet. We met for a movie the three of us and I was instantly drawn to her warmth and curiosity. By the third or fourth time we met up, eHarmony gentleman and I were no longer in contact and it was her daughter, K, who drove her and accompanied us. You see, my new friend had muscular dystrophy and was scooter-bound and on a ventilator. The three of us talked, laughed, connected and I knew these two women would continue to be in my life in one way or another.

I clicked on the email, excited to see her name in my inbox again as it had been a very long time. But it wasn’t from her. It was from K apologizing for telling me sad news in an email.

My friend Phyllis had passed. A month ago. And K was apologizing for just now getting around to telling me because it has been a difficult task for her, this retelling the final days of her mother’s life over and over.

I got through the email slowly, letting the words sink in. Upon finishing, without hesitation, I hit the call button to speak with K directly. I needed to hear her voice; hear how she was doing as memories of losing my auntie and the emotional mess I was in for days, weeks, months after came flooding back. We talked for nearly an hour, going over the difficulties Phyllis had gone through this last year and the obstacles now before K.

My heart is heavy. Now I know why they have been so much on my mind all summer. I didn’t tell K this but I dreamt of her mother last month. It was a good dream. I had meant to call or email after but life, once again, got in the way. In all honesty, a part of me has been fearing this news all summer, as if I knew somehow that it was coming (my family will understand this weird feeling) …

Anyway, Phyllis was such an inspiration during a difficult time in my life. It was a time in which I was hoping to find love but instead, had my heart broken a couple times in a row by men I thought I’d chosen better. While all my girlfriends were slipping away because they were busy with new husbands or new babies, Phyllis was their to offer an ear, advice, wisdom by sharing stories with me through email.

I loved her emails. They always came at the right time and made me feel so much better or made me question things and refocus. Here’s just a taste during an exchange on friendship and betrayal:

“I have been so very fortunate to have made some very special life long friends. I don't bail on my friends! But if someone disappoints me, proves themselves untrustworthy, I look on it that I have learned something about them and so I don't trust them again, so I will never again be disappointed by them. The friendship changes for me but we don't become enemies. Things like I'm talking about usually happen with acquaintances or work friendships, not with my true heart friends. If someone violates your trust at work, you still have to work with them and see them so I found that if I looked at it that way, I could continue a cordial working relationship knowing that I could … never let my guard down, never let myself be in a position to be hurt by them again. Sometimes it sounds so cold to me, but it serves to insulate myself from another disappointment, at least I try.

Some people think that brutal honesty is always best no matter how much it hurts and some people just want to make themselves feel bigger and better by pointing out your mistakes or faults, real or imagined. There is no time or place in our lives for those people. We need people who love us, who encourage us, who praise us, positive people who love to laugh and enjoy life.
 
I saw a little book today about friendship, just a little four inch square book with about twenty pages, one of the sayings in it was: "When you have a problem, I will help. If I can't help, I will sit down beside you and listen." I loved that.  
That's the best kind of friend. …”

Until we meet again, my friend, I raise a glass of my favorite cocktail to you … and K, this is for you …

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
 
Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
 
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity.
[There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident?]
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
 
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. 
All is well.
~Canon, Henry Scott Holland of St. Paul's Cathedral



HEMINGWAY DAIQUIRI 

INGREDIENTS
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crushed ice
2 ounces white rum
1 teaspoon simple syrup (optional)
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce grapefruit juice
½ ounce maraschino liqueur
1 lime wheel, for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS
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Fill a cocktail shaker with the ice. Pour in the rum, syrup, juices and liqueur and shake well. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with the lime.

xo, Ani


2 comments:

Kimberly Schiffel said...

Stunning photos and a beautiful story. May the new year be full of friendship both new and old.

Anita L Arambula said...

Thank you, Kimmie!