I had this experience in Los Angeles that truly felt like being in heaven. Some say that when you die your life flashes before your eyes and I think I might be dead right now because that kind of happened to me in the most remarkable way. Maybe I will just say a tiny, tiny bit..
I was walking up Highland Ave. in the direction of the Hollywood Sign, wearing the necklace that I bought in Antigua, Guatemala for 30 quetzales with two melded hearts of silver, when right in front of me, as though somehow meaning for me to find it, a gold chain blacelet was shining on the sidewalk.
I was so glad somehow that the gold was not real. I did not even think of washing it. I just immediately clasped it around my wrist and somehow it fit perfectly like magic. Gold around my wrist to match the silver around my neck. It felt like Papa was with me, like the veil between the living and dead was so thin.
Just now I looked closely at the word on the clasp. It says Monet. I do not think I will find someone to talk to about what this means to me until I find someone to trust with my treasure chest. It is like I was reminded in the most beautiful way of my love and my grief together in ways that made them feel as one, in ways that made me feel my life and gave me courage to feel love.
Later that night I saw the Hollywood Sign from a certain perspective and the last few letters were obstructed by something so all I could see were the letters Holly, and I cried. Holly is the name of a cousin around my age that was murdered when I was little. Hers was the first funeral I ever went to… I remember her casket was white, I remember them lowering her coffin into the ground, and I remember kind of feeling like my life depended on being able to hide the emotions I felt and the tears that fell from my eyes onto her coffin.
When Holly was murdered. I didn’t feel it, or I pretended not to feel it, and my family was not one where I felt safe feeling open about grief and sadness. I suddenly feel like holding onto that and being so afraid of my real emotions being seen has been the source of so much armoring and resistance and holding back throughout my entire life. I am afraid of being seen like… maybe I shouldn’t make this entry public… and those tears on Holly’s coffin somehow feel unforgivable, like feeling is a crime, and I don’t know why.
I did not expect to feel moved like that. I don’t think I had even ever met her or at least I do not remember ever playing with her or anything like that. I went around with my uncle and cousins putting up missing posters but I don’t remember what I was feeling about it all as the search was happening. Now I am crying again as I look at the Wikipedia article on the murder: I had forgotten that it happened when she and her brother had gone to look at puppies. Of course, how could I possibly let that in?
I think we were at my uncle’s house eating pizza when the news came on. I don’t think there was a television in their kitchen but maybe there was because I almost remember the story of her body being found breaking on a television in the kitchen or at least that is where I remember standing when I took in the news that someone had come across the remains of a body in the woods…
I think it was actually right around that time when we would sometimes eat pizza there that I actually discovered how much I liked pizza…
Oh, I cried about the word Holly but did not let the syllable ‘Wood’ on that sign mean anything connected to it until just now. I cried seeing the word Holly but I did not think ‘wood’ had anything to do with it even though her body was found in the woods. It must be so hard letting myself… feel.
That night in Hollywood, all my grief and love were right there to be held in the light, and for one night I did not have to feel ashamed about feeling my feelings. All of me felt welcome, all of me felt loved… I found gold to match my silver, to remind me of Papa, “silver and gold, silver and gold,” but then finding it on Highland Ave., of all the places I could have found it.
Memories surfaced of my first love, of beautiful times in Elm Park, and the grocery store across the street from the park that we called ‘our Price Chopper’ on the corner of Park Ave. and Highland.
Memories of being parked there early in the morning before our first trip to Montreal in the minivan she called the Dawn Treader after the Narnia books.
Going to Mass Academy, that part of the city came to feel like home. That magical corner or Highland and Einhorn where my Mass Academy friend Irma lived, gazing at the street sign, longing to feel closer.
And oh, that heartbreaking dinner on Highland Street with my first love that I can hardly bear to remember, trying to make things better between us after we had hurt each other so, and… what was supposed to be a romantic dinner going all wrong. I don’t remember much but I wanted to put our love back together again and we ended up fighting about something having to do with iced tea… it’s all so connected.
It’s time to have the courage to feel love. It really does feel like that is what this is all about, like if I had felt the love that night on Highland Street like I wanted to be free to feel those tears on Holly’s coffin everything would have turned out different… but somehow I am glad that things didn’t…
Those tears on Holly’s coffin, my heartbreak around how the romantic dinner on Highland Street that was supposed to turn our relationship around turned out to be the beginning of the end, I don’t think I recognized any kind of a connection between these things before that night in Hollywood but one dreamy evening in Los Angeles my life came into the most remarkable kind of focus when my eyes landed on that gold chain bracelet that fit me just so… and I want to share all about it with a friend from the heart but first I need a treasure chest to store my treasure…