today my friend kulia would've been 29. i say would've been because she died of cancer in the summer of '04.
that period of my life...and my friends lives for that matter, were some of the most challenging, growing, bonding and painful times of our lives. from that anxious time of waiting to hear test results back, to the day we found out the cancer was back, to the countless days spent with her at her apartment, to moving her back to her dad's house, to the hospital visits...it was a rough time...
i thought about her a lot today...probably the most that i have in a long time...so this is my way of processing...remembering...
i'm going to tell a story.
its a story that many have heard before.
its a story i shared at her funeral.
its a story that helps me remember.
one of the blessings of working at a church is that my job is to love people. my job is to care for them when they are hurting. my job is to be with people. so, during the winter/early spring of 04 when kulia started getting sick again i would take my school books to her apartment, stop at starbucks for her favorite, chai tea latte, and we'd hang out...
she didn't like being alone...i didn't like her being alone
so one of those days as i cozied up to The Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testiment and she curled up on the couch to read some Christian/Romance novel (really, i can't believe there are such things), she got a nose bleed. they always took her out of commission. she was really looking forward to reading her book and since i was NOT looking forward to mine, i agreed to read to her.
i moved over to the couch. she layed down. i covered her with a blanket, covered her nose with a towel and ice, and she rested her head on my leg.
the story was ok. seemed typical. some lonely woman who had been hurt in the past was building a relationship with some guy who had a sordid past. she wanted to be with him, but was it ok? would he hurt her again? blah, blah, blah.
i read some more.
then: the "love" scene.
now i'm not one to be uncomfortable with lovey things, but something about reading a woman's thoughts and emotions as her and some guy become intimate and share their first kiss doesn't sit well with me.
the worst part is that kulia's eyes are closed, her breathing has deepened, but i'm not quite sure if she is asleep or not.
do i stop reading?
what if she is awake? then she'd know that i felt uncomfortable reading and it would ruin the "mood" for her.
what if she is sleeping? i don't want to be reading this romance novel to myself!
so i read on.
finally, when things are starting to get too intimate and i'm certain kulia is sleeping, i close the book, gentley lay it down on the coffee table and...
her cell phone rings and wakes her up...
how long i'd read that love story with her sleeping i don't know, but i do know that we laughed about it...
i love remembering her laugh...sometimes the sound fades where i don't think i can remember it anymore...then i think back to this story...
or the time i helped jump start her car in the pouring rain and we got soaked and almost killed ourselves...
or sitting on her bed with our friends, just messing around...
its good to remember.
miss you and love you, kulia.