I lost my mother on December 4, 1989. Then she died again January 8, March 16, May 29, June 3 and yesterday. Get it? Of course you don’t. I don’t either but I do know death is not a one-time deal. When we lose someone precious, sometimes it feels like they die over and over again. This feeling is especially pronounced when we are in crisis and the person who comforts and protects us, who loves us, is not there. Each time we confront the harsh, butt naked truth that they are deceased AND ARE NOT COMING BACK, it feels like they die again. Grief is a shit-brown monster with fecal hair and eyes made of used toilet tissue. Grief smells like ass. Grief stinks. A couple days ago I was feeling a bit blue. Even though the sun was gorgeously filling the sky with no threat of rain, I was still mildly sad. So I asked the Universe to send me someone who needed comforting because causing happiness in others causes happiness in me. Seconds later and lo! a girlfriend called sobbing while unfurling from the fetal position because she’s about to have surgery Thursday and her mother can’t make her a sweetpotato pie while rubbing her hair and telling her everything’s going to be alright. Mama died years ago and although we both know she’s not coming back, the surgery anxiety has underlined and magnified Mama’s absence. Sob, scream, retreat into fetal position, uncurl,repeat. Call best friend who is waiting for said call and happy to attempt to make happy. Or at least try. But there was not much happy there. I offered her lots of IknowIknowIknow and a couple yougotthisyougotthis, but even after we spoke two hours, Mama S. was still dead. At the very least, I’ll make my friend a sweetpotato pie but it won’t taste like her mother’s. It never will. I should have asked her what I could do to help her catch her breath, but who am I kidding? There is no love like a mommie’s love. Perhaps it was enough to catch a few of her tears through my phone’s flat face. Maybe my being there on the other end of her call was enough. We took things slow, talked about her new boyfriend and how much we hate our hair, and returned to her anguish when she was ready. When we hung up because SHE had to go, her pain seemed to have subsided a bit, as if the Grief Monster had decided to remove at least one of her fangs from my friend’s neck. It kills knowing the one person my friend will need most tomorrow won’t be there because she’s died. Again. But I’ll be there, pie in hand. Heart too.