Thanksgiving means I’m missing someone…
Rachael O’Ceiran was my best friend.
No one was so beautiful, so full of life. No one ever supported me, believed in me (without retaliation or competition); dreamed my futures with me in sync with dreams I actually had for myself; stuck needles into me to resolve arthritis pain whether I believed in them or not (it felt so good); re-taught me the principles of wu wei (we’ve been here before,lives and lives); shopping for Halloween stuff, her favorite holiday; registering as “Morrissey” whenever we made reservations; bonding over David Lynch, punk and John Waters; laughing over too much wine (in the gravy) while I cooked Thanksgiving dinner…
Once her life had come apart–divorce, kids dispersed, love in ruins–she often came to stay over Thanksgiving. We had so much fun together. Sure, she was a handful–bi-polar is no cotton-candy theme park ride–though she never told me what drove her to her extremes…that came out at her memorial. I just took them as given. I’m not an easy ticket to draw either–and I think we always got that about each other.
I never knew a person so alive…Was it because of the bi-polar I didn’t know about until she was gone? Or was she just a human fireworks show that somehow came into a little still-life world like mine? I still see her sometimes in dreams (once she appeared and said “You know I’m dead, don’t you?”) and I know I’ll see her again, as I have before, more times than I can account for…
We met in college (this time) when I was a film major and one of my projects was an 8mm study of her which I titled “You Don’t Need to go to College to be a Success,” from a clipping pasted to her dorm wall. (Same woman who had an Eraserhead poster as a part of her newlywed apartment decor.) Maybe the film has disintegrated too much after 30+ years, but I need to see if I can recover it. If I can, I’ll post it here.
The film ends with a candle flame and the words of a The Smiths song:
And if a double-decker bus
Crashes in to us
To die by your side
Is such a heavenly way to die
And if a ten ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well the pleasure, the privilege is mine
You were only 20. I was 28. The best of times. Still so grateful and so thankful. I understand the need to be done with it all; I really do. Still. Still, I miss you.
Rach, how I wish you were here.