I joined and learned of the listserve exactly two months ago when my dear friend, Bianca, told me about it. She had copied this particularly moving quote and shared it with me. You see, she was reaching out to me and showing up for me as a good friend should.
Being fairly new to the listserve, I have considered what I would send, but haven't dedicated a lot of intellectual and emotional energy to it. Of course I would win on a week when I start a new job working more hours and with an earlier start time than I am used to. Of course I would win in the middle of the workweek so there's no time to prep, or type it out on a computer, and so I end up writing my entry using the note function on my iPhone. Of course.
I wonder if that's how it happens for many folks.
The reason Bianca was reaching out to me, and why I so deeply appreciate it, is because last year, my best friend died. It was my first true, life-altering experience with grief. He wasn't the first person I loved to die as I don't have any living grandparents. But there is a difference between losing someone who has experienced a long and full life, and someone who hadn't reached thirty. Hogan dying was the first, but far from the last horrible thing that happened in the world and in my life during 2016.
In an attempted plan for self-care surrounding the anniversary of Hogan's death in February of this year, I started journaling with more fervor and frequency. I started making lists: what made Hogan such an amazing friend, moments when I felt like a good friend, moments when someone was a good friend to me, random acts of kindness, and what makes a friendship great. After looking over the lists, editing, adding to them, I realized that the single most important quality to being a great friend is SHOWING UP.
Showing up can be what Bianca did, sending a text message with a great quote just to reach out. It can be a phone call, a post card, liking every single post on their Facebook page over the past two months, going to dinner, a hug, mailing a mix cd, buying a keychain as a gift, picking up a cheesy magnet on your vacation to gift to a friend, a handmade Valentine, buying a plane ticket for a visit, bringing flowers, emailing a poem, inviting someone to an event or to your home for dinner, leaving amazing voicemails, tagging a friend in funny memes on Instagram, or celebrating big life events. In the depth of my grief, I stopped showing up for other people or for myself, but people never stopped showing up for me. The phone call from a friend where they repeated the following as I cried: "you are not a burden. I love you. It is not a burden to love someone who is grieving" may be one of the most significant of my grief journey, and has been something I've now been able to say to someone else.
SHOW UP. For the people you love, and for the disenfranchised. Do more. Love more.
Oh, and what I learned about legacies in the wake of Hogan's death is that they are so much more than children. He was young and didn't have children yet, but his legacy is not weaker because of this. He showed up for people in his life fully. There's a whole group of us who will never stop talking about him, how wonderful he was, and how the way he loved and lived was something we will never forget. We call it Hogan Percent, which means living life at more than 100%.
So thank you, Bianca, for sharing this community with me, and for showing up for me and being a wonderful friend.
May we all show up with love for other people and build a better future.