I was reminded today of a dear old friend who has been gone from my life, but not my heart, for the past seventeen years. Bella was the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever known. Oh, she could be fierce, she had strong wild instincts - and I'll never forget the way she climbed out the window and walked off through sunlight, into her private dreams, unrelenting and irrepressible, the day before she died. But I'll remember too her softness, such a calm dark softness, and the magic in her eyes.

I still dream about her, and in my dreams I'm bewildered to find her alive once more, and I search through memory for how I came to abandon her, to leave her behind as I moved on with living. I wake apologising. The dreams are a strange echo of grief, but there's some truth in them too. I wasn't always the best friend Bella could have had. I'd do things differently if given the chance.

She was a good friend to me though. We grew into womanhood together, and wandered together over the water and around the hills; we had thirteen years of adventures. But it's funny, when I looked for a photo of her to illustrate this post, I found only one snapshot, despite all that time. I had more, but they seem to have slipped away the same way she did, before I even realised it. But that's alright. I see her clearly in my mind. I feel the meltingness of her character, her warmth and unconditional love, as she leans against me in memory. I hear her voice. She was truly belladonna, nightshade I called her, dark like a lovely peaceful glimpse of heaven - but she's also the light of my younger years. The beautiful unflinching long light.

It's not just how we are loved that shapes who we are in life. It's how we love back. Ever since I lost Bella, I've tried to love others with the best of my heart, because I was blessed to have such an angel in my life to show me how it's done. Loving other people even if they are grouchy or stressed or not there often enough doesn't really take anything away from you. It just makes you more yourself.


  1. lovely that to this day she inspires you and flavors your life.

  2. Beautiful. I think we can speak to our loved ones in dreams. xoox Su

  3. I talk with my brother every night, it comforts me. We were truly best friends.
    I lost him to the Vietnam war, over 45 years ago.
    Beautiful post. Your words, your thoughts, your sharing.

  4. Some of the best friends I've had in my life have been trees and animals. The old maple tree in the back garden of the house in which I grew up opened its branches to me to play and climb. That tree had a beautiful smile and a loving heart. I used to stick its seeds on the end of my nose and it would laugh.

    My old black dog, Buddy, was patient and kind always, even when I was not. He taught me more about friendship than any other friend I have had. I miss him every day, but I know, too, that he is still here and that love is everlasting. Sometimes we hear him jump down from my bed. Once, when my daughter was brushing her hair in my room, she saw him (in the mirror) on my bed.

    Thank you for this lovely post.

  5. I came back to read this again. I must share this one with my daughter. xoxo Su