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Today would have been my friend Ellen’s birthday. She would have been 79 years old. Had she been alive, had I died instead, I would be almost 34 years old and somehow it would have seemed less of a practical joke the universe played on both of us. I welcome it, this dance with death she left me to grapple with for the rest of my life, every year as I think on how fleeting life is when we love the people we love and when they love us back. I leave you with a poem from her partner, Rosemary Hyde, who I love as dearly as Ellen:
Birthday Thought to Ellen Jan 26 2011
Tomorrow would have been your birthday.
Web reminders say that I should send a card;
I wonder how to do that from this earth to where you are.
So here’s my birthday card to you, my Love –
An imagined nosegay:
I’m picturing it fresh and pure and white,
With smell so sweet;
Each flower is a precious moment
That we spent together;
Reminder of our songs, our laughter, even tears we shed —
All more special in the love we shared.
I tell you now, again,
How very glad I am that you were born.
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