Thursday, December 19, 2019

How to Say Goodbye to Fern

In 2002, I lost my best friend, Fern Meyerowitz. In 2005, I tried to write about my grief, but found I could only do it in second person. The essay was published in an ezine called Flashquake, which is now defunct and offline. Since the piece no longer accessible, I'm pasting it in below to preserve it.

How to Say Goodbye to Fern

by Ellen Meister

1. Be there to answer the phone when her husband calls to say Fern has had enough and will be going home to take hospice care. Say "I understand" when he explains that it was her decision. Say it again when he tells you that if you are going to pray for her, please do not pray for her to get well. Pray for her to die quickly.

2. Light a candle and do as you are told. Ask God to take her quickly. Do not wish for a miracle.

3. When her husband calls again to say come now if you want to say good-bye, do not cry on the phone. Wait until you hang up. Then fall to your knees and wail in selfish abandon. She was your best friend. You are too young for her to die.

4. Say okay when your husband insists on going with you. Understand he wants to say good-bye, too. And also, he doesn't want you driving alone like this. He is afraid you are so distraught you will wrap the car around a tree, leaving him and the children all alone. For a terrible moment, resent Fern for having the freedom to die without leaving anyone motherless.

5. Rest your face against the cool glass of the window and say nothing when your husband reaches over and squeezes your hand.

6. Try not to panic when you see other cars in front of her house, even though you thought you would have her to yourself.

7. Sit limply at her bedside with the others, smelling death. Notice that she is lucid, but her eyes are already dead. Be patient as you wait for someone to understand that you are her oldest friend and have the greatest claim. When no one speaks up, make the announcement yourself; ask them to leave you alone with her for a few minutes.

8. When she turns to you and says, "What do you want to ask me?" go blank. Tell her you just want her to know how much you love her. When she answers, "You were everything," let yourself weep and weep and weep.

9. Later, agree with your husband when he says it is silly to cancel the trip; she could hang on for weeks. But know in your heart that your cellphone will ring while you are in Disneyworld.

10. Then, when it happens, on a recklessly sunny day just as you are climbing into a ferryboat to Magic Kingdom, thank the caller for letting you know. You will be the only one crying on the boat, but soon you will stop. You have forever to mourn your friend. Today you will go to Pirates of the Caribbean.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Are You a JAP (Jewish American Princess) Poster

This blog has been dormant for years, but I wanted to be sure I put this image out there into cyber space, in case anyone else on planet Earth has been on the hunt for this thing and needs to know that it really exists.

I first saw this ARE YOU A JAP  (Jewish American Princess) poster in high school, but had a hard time finding anyone else who remembered it. And I searched the internet for it for years and years, without even finding a reference to it. I was beginning to think I had imagined the whole thing. But now it's my possession, thanks to a certain Google wizard and a generous benefactor. I am overjoyed!