Interlude: Celebrating Julienne
Tomorrow, January 11, is Julienne’s birthday.
(I’m struggling to say much beyond that. I’ve just been staring at the blinking cursor trying to figure out what words could possibly capture how that first sentence makes me feel. This week has been a real struggle, especially since I posted pictures of her last birthday party on social media a few days ago. It feels obscene to have her birthday come around when she isn’t here. This week has been harder for me to get through than any I can remember.)
31 years ago tomorrow, the world became an immeasurably better place by having Julienne in it. Her light, her love, her beauty, her magic, her joy, her passion, her strength, her brilliance of mind and spirit – all of those things – made an indelible impression on everyone she met, and even on people who did not get a chance to meet her. Her presence still has an impact that resonates with family, with friends, co-workers, acquaintances and strangers. Julienne is like no other person I have ever met, and without her the world is a different, darker world.
(I must confess that I take a grim and joyless humor in seeing how the world has descended into madness and chaos over the last months. Entire continents burn, World War III is being discussed in serious terms, the entire post-WW2 world order is preparing to overturn itself into chaos while the worst weapons humanity have ever managed to craft now become an almost inevitable occurrence with every passing day. As far as I am concerned, the heat death of the universe is a fitting consequence of the unfairness of Julienne’s illness and the theft from us all of such an incredible being. Please forgive me my blackest of black humor. She would be very cross with me over it.)
I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do to celebrate Julienne tomorrow. Last week, I thought about hosting a little get-together, a small not-party where people could toast her and tell stories and remember her together, but social situations have been, shall we say, challenging for me lately. I’m not used to anxiety at this level and I’m afraid it would drive me insane. I’ve been able to be social a few times since she passed, and have even felt times where I was almost normal. Unfortunately, the pain and anguish that I’m not feeling during those times aren’t gone. They are just in abeyance, waiting for their time to return, and, I guess fittingly because of my profession, they have been charging interest. So for every hour where I’m able to almost be normal and social, I get about 2 hours of redoubled anguish and agony on top of the normally scheduled pain every hour brings with it.
So, no party. Not even a not-party.
Some very kind people have given me suggestions on what to do instead, and I think I’ve come up with an idea. Tomorrow, I will post some of my favorite pictures of her, maybe a story or two, and I will mark them #CelebratingJulienne. I would like to invite all of you to do the same. If you don’t personally have any pictures of her, feel free to use ones she or I or anyone have posted to Facebook or Instagram. Or, if you’d like a large number (almost 3k) to browse through, I have a shared Google Photos folder you can peruse by clicking this link:
Another idea (thank you Corinna) is to send me a video/audio file/song to play at her site. A message or just something meaningful from you for her is a wonderful thought. Anyone who decides to participate will be doing me a kindness, and I think Julienne would be pleased. If you aren’t up for it or that isn’t your thing, then I hope you’ll take a moment to think of her and hopefully smile. Maybe give the below song a listen. It’s one of my very favorites of everything she ever did.
Think of Me, sung by Julienne Gede Edwards
Thank you guys. I hope you know that I love you, all of you, yes, even you, the quiet reader who doesn’t know what to say. I love you all very much.
Especially you, Julienne, my sweetest of peas.
Love you guys.