Aftermath

The death of a friend carves a cruel path of mild destruction. It’s not the full-on ransacking that comes with the loss of one with whom you share blood and DNA. But it’s pretty damn bad.

The internal inventory feels entirely too skewed to the first-person. I wish I could have visited, I wish I had gotten that care package out in time. These thoughts aren’t inherently selfish, but somehow it feels that way.

Then there is the technological archiving and excavation process. I can’t bear the thought of deleting e-mails and texts. But do I need to keep her phone number? Am I pissing on the grave if I free up a little Random Access Memory that will never be used again?

With the end, present tense turns to past tense. She would love this song! necessarily becomes she would have loved this song!. A slight hiccup of thought, and a 180 degree turn of direction.

The hell of it all is that I never actually met Turquoise Taylor Grant, who left us peacefully Tuesday morning, at the age of 45, in Ventura, CA after a two-year battle with liver cancer. But because we have many mutual friends across the various sub-sets of my life, we met online and became close.

My wife spent a weekend in San Jose with The Turq in a subset of online friends.

My friend Lynette shared an Acme Theater stage with The Turq and my late friend Mikey Dee, in my Boston rock subset, long before I met any of the above.

Eventually one is always six-degrees away from someone, and I was fortunate to be six-degrees or less from Turquoise on many levels.

Watching her battle the tumors from 3,000 miles was difficult. I often felt like Washington Roebling, bedridden with caissons disease, supervising the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge by telescope from his apartment window. I wanted to BE there. (And back we go to that first-person survivors guilt: I wish I could have done more. Um, what could I “do”, being 3,000 miles away and, oh-by-the-way, not a cancer specialist?)

But this is the wonder of technology and friendship: I was able to be there, via binary stream, with a laugh and a bit of encouragement. Not much, but not bad. (And she made two years. Not a bad ass-kicking of the original prognosis.)

And I’ll always have our collaborations-to-be. Once we were reminiscing about the TCBY frozen yogurt stand at the Downtown Crossing subway station in Boston, and how it always smelled of urine. This lead to one of us ordering a Piss-tachio cone, and this became the name of the band we were going to form. Our first album would be titled Urine This Too!. The Turq had some pipes, and our set-list was entirely of her choosing: Deep Purple’s “Hush”, Al Wilson’s “Show And Tell” and Heart’s “Barracuda”. I believe velvet pants and pimp hats may have been involved.

Or the New Year’s Eve morning when we started tossing Maine dialect back-and-forth phonetically, and by the time I left the office we had the beginning of a play about a young kid working in a textile mill with a pregnant girlfriend and another pregnant girlfriend.

This is the detritus of a life ended far too early. I am forever touched by what we had, but in the early aftermath I can’t get over the feeling of being cheated. All the world (and I) cheated of her smile and spirit. All the world (and I) cheated of present tense and future shenanigans.

I never met Turquoise Taylor Grant, but she touched my spirit deeply, and I am numb and depleted from her physical loss. A mild ransacking, but nevertheless.

39 comments
  1. Sorry Brian I cannot think of anything useful to say. Nice memory though Nigel :-)

    • Thank you, Sir.

  2. Our hearts always stutter with losses such as this, I am sorry for your loss of a friend. This was a lovely memorial.

    • So nicely put, Valentine. Thanks so much for stopping by: I really appreciate it.

  3. Beautiful post, Brian. I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Thanks so much, friend. It helps having you here.

  4. that’s terribly sad. so sorry, brian.

    • Meredith, thanks. Great seeing you as always.

  5. My deepest condolences. (heart)

    • Thank you so much, friend. I’m really touched for having you here.

      • I’m grateful you’ve allowed me to be here.Much love, hugs and kisses.

  6. A sweet and sincere love letter. I’m sure it would have been appreciated.

    • Mike, thanks so much. I tried, and that’s all we can do.

  7. Sending love to you. I love the last line. <3

    • I’m really grateful for you, m’dear, thanks.

  8. I’m really sorry to hear about your friend’s passing.

    This post comes at an interesting time because a couple nights ago it hit me that if some of my blogger/writing friends (most of whom I’ve never met in person) died, I’d be devastated by it. Friendships comes in all forms, and losing a friend is losing a friend no matter the circumstances.

    What a fantastic tribute this is.

    • You are so right. We’re just going to have to go immortal, then.

      I’m really grateful for you, J&T. Thanks.

  9. Terribly sorry for your loss. Life is so damned unfair sometimes…

    • Unfair. The perfect word.

      Thanks so much, Sheila.

  10. Sounds like we all lost a wonderful spirit, you are lucky to have the memories. Lovely tribute <3

    • Thanks so much, Life. Live it with the top down and otherwise. ;)

  11. All:

    Sorry for my slack replies. Most websites are blocked in the Cube, so I’m reduced to the occasional BlackBerry drive-by. I’ll reply more later, but I wanted to quickly thank you all. As you can imagine, this has been a horrendous, painful week. Your kind words, and your company, period, have helped more than I can say.

    Again, thanks. I have the best friends and fans in the world…
    Westbye

  12. This tribute is a stunning testament to love and friendship, the delight of a vibrant personality, and the power of good writing. I am really, really sorry for your (and Turquoise Taylor Grant’s circle of friends and families’ ) loss. My condolences to all.

    • Thank you, dear friend. So much.

      • I’m so sorry, Brian. I am so sad for all of you.

  13. My condolences. Words usually fail at a lose of a loved one. This, though, is a beautiful tribute to your dear friend. May the pain subside and the memories remain. One who dies and is not forgotten, lives on in our memories. It isn’t the same and never enough, but it is what we can hang on to.

    • What a beautiful thought, Anne, thank you so much.

  14. BTW, some of you may know Turq a little bit…

    http://annetaintor.com/ati/2012/06/01/turquoise-rest-in-peace/

  15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a27rORA-I7U It was an early project, I Designed the wardrobe.

  16. So sorry my friend. Your friendship with Turquoise is a testament, however, to the power of friendships forged through technology. One can only wish to be remembered so dearly by one who writes so powerfully and authentically.

    • Incredible and beautiful to have so many ways to connect, innit? We are truly fortunate.

  17. oh dear god i know how you feel, as with a close/family loved one it only hurts less with time. The hurt NEVER goes away entirely, Nor do the ‘I the wish’ ‘I could’ ‘I should have’ thoughts.
    Healing thoughts to you and your wife… more to the family of Turq.
    Be well.

    • You are the awesome, Rachael Black, thanks.

  18. A wonderful heartfelt post. I’m sorry for your loss. How lucky you both were to have intimacy. So many times people don’t manage that sitting face to face. Thanks for sharing.

    • You are so correct: I’m amazed at my great fortune to know Turq like I did. Thanks so much.

  19. Yeah, I miss her terribly as well and have also been grappling with that selfish “I” when it comes to grief. Thank you for this. It put into words many of the things I’ve been thinking over the past week.

    • I think you did a fair job summing it all up. *grin*

      God it’s hard, innit? So. Wrong. Glad you stopped by. It’s good (in a selfish way) to know I’m not alone in the grapple.

      • I have more to say about her but just haven’t been able to make myself do the work. I have some scanning to do. And then add some words. It’s the words that are the hardest part.

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