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How Did I Get Here
"Loss and Regeneration"

January 5, 2014

Loss and Regeneration

My friend, Steve, passed away two days before Christmas, when I was visiting my daughters and their families in Bend, Oregon.  I drove out to Marrowstone Island to visit him the day before I left, knowing it was the last time I would be seeing him.

We talked some, but mostly he lay in bed and I sat quietly looking out the window with him at his magnificent view.  I am glad he got to watch the tides on Mystery Bay, and the birds who often flew overhead.  Since my return I have attended a ceremony for his passing with all his other care-givers, where my own partner officiated. Nonetheless,  I still can't quite accept that he is gone.  There is a void where he used to be. 

I'm not sure if this is because he had such energy, such a strong presence, or because it's difficult for me to let him go.  Of course I realize it's better for us both if I do let go, but I'm not quite ready.  For so many years we had such terrific, interesting conversations whenever we met.  I loved having a close male friend who was not my partner.  We could be friends, without all the other baggage. 

I made a pact as I was writing this:  I will let him go on New Year's Eve.  I just finished making an apple cake, my grandmother's recipe, that I've been making for years.  I think I'll cut a piece for him, and leave it on the table tomorrow night.  We can leave it outside for the birds the next day, and perhaps his spirit will partake of it as well.  I'd like to think that. 

Seems a good way to usher in the new year, as well as  a way for me to accept his loss, and move on with all the loving people who surround me in my life.  Focusing on them, and how much they give me, is a good option.  Life does go on, and relishing mine is the choice I know he would want me to make.

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Nancy Alvarez began writing at Sarah Lawrence College and has written articles for the New York Times Magazine and Cosmopolitan. She has also written for several television shows and movies, including“The Waltons.” Her first novel, “Ladycat” was published by Crown in 1980 under the name Nancy Greenwald. She has taught screen writing at UCLA Extension, as well as in the Masters of Professional Writing at USC as well. She is currently working on a multi-generational novel set in Austria, Poland, New York and New Jersey. Her latest book, "The Girls and Me," along with "Little Nancy," can be found in the TTN Bookstore. Nancy can be reached at either or