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March 20, 2021

One year without your friendship and companionship.  And not just losing you but losing all social contact and family contact in any real human way.  Today I went to your gravesite alone.  I thought I'd stand there and chat with you and tell you how much I miss you and how you "flew over the cuckoo's nest" JUST IN TIME to miss the insane cray cray...and the isolation...and the fear...and crumbling of societies around the world...and the near loss of democracy and most frighteningly, given your history, the near rise (and potential near future rise) of fascism.  

For that I'm happy you're not here. But ONLY for that. For all else I am gutted by your loss.  And today I experienced what hell actually is. It's not a "place". No fire. No brimstone. No demon captor delighting in your pain...it's a condition whereby your own actions and behavior are being held up to your eyes for you to relive and regret every single transgression.  Today I walked the grounds where you lay in repose in the Garden of Gethsemane at the base of the foothills near your flatirons so beloved.  I walked about 2 miles in the snow and some mud from the melt.  And I talked to you and begged you to help me to get past the hell I live in when I remember EVERY SINGLE harsh word spoken (TO you, never BY you).  Every time I snapped at you or lectured you or made you feel that you'd disappointed me somehow as though I was some kind of sovereign that it was your duty to please me only and never let me down.  Driving home I had to pull over a few times because the tears wouldn't stop. I tried a primal scream or two (or three).  It did help. For a second...and then the wave of memories of your loving kindness, nurturing, and generosity. I weeped for EVERY time I said no to any request you made to do something with you that would have given you pleasure but I thought it wasn't "my thing"...and the few things I said yes to I really enjoyed.  I would give half of what time I have left if I could somehow have you back for those years and I could treat you like the friend you deserved. The way you treated me.  

People will say "you were a wonderful friend to her. You did so many kind things for her. She knew you loved her."  Yep all of that is true.  But she did those thing ALL the time. She was wonderful to me ALL the time. She was kind ALL the time. She loved me ALL the time.  She showed me more unconditional love than both of the people who raised me.  They didn't really know better, but it didn't change the harm they did.  She healed so much of that harm.   

So today, I learned that I am not a wonderful friend. If I was I would appreciate EVERY friend I have more than I do. I would treat EVERY friend I have BETTER than I do.  What is it about humans that often only learn this lesson when it is far too late to correct any mistakes made?  

So my most precious friend, wherever you are, I am begging once more, please find me in a dream and let me remember it so that I can tell you how much I miss you and love you and how sorry I am for any pain or disappointment you felt that had my name on it.  I will, in your name, vow to attempt to be a better person going forward.  More generous with my time. More forgiving with foibles. More loving and giving to everyone who enters my sphere.  

I have donated to "A LIVING TRIBUTE" and they will plant ONE HUNDRED TREES in your name in the forests in CO that were so devastated by the fires last year.  Your love of nature, hiking, Colorado, will be carried on by me for the rest of MY life as a tribute to you.  It won't make up for the neglectfulness but if you ARE somewhere, I hope you will find happiness in this gesture.   I will NEVER forget you. And I hope with my whole heart that our souls will meet again and have another (FAR LONGER) journey together.  One in which I can be a much better person.  

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September 18, 2020

Hi Miki.  I REALLY could use your friendship today.  Losing you AND RGB in the same year is too much for me. I am gutted.  I am drenched in my own tears yet again.  My heart must be very strong to keep beating in this year when it feels like the bowels of hell have opened up and all its demons loosened upon the earth.  How you loved RGB.  Seeing that movie with you is one of my best memories of our friendship.  In a way, I'm happy for you that you got "out of jail" before everything went to hell.  I don't know if you exist somewhere now and if so what that might be like.  But if you do and if you can somehow hear my thoughts, you know how many times a day you are in those thoughts. Today...such a gut wrenching sadness has taken hold of me. I have lost all hope today.  I wish I could call you and we could cry together.  But I'll have to cry for both of us.  I hope somehow, you are able to connect with RGB in whatever realm you exist.  And I hope you will tell her how much she is loved and admired and how much she will be missed.  And if you do connect, can you ask her if she can do something from there to prevent a disaster here?  And one more favor my sweet dear friend.  I'm still waiting for that cognitive dream ... the one where I'm with you and I KNOW I'm dreaming but I also know that my spirit is with your spirt for real...and when I wake up it will be SO different from a regular dream that there is NO doubt I was really with you. Whenever you're ready, but tonight would be so appreciated.  I don't expect anyone to read these posts anymore but if someone does I apologize for my ramblings. It's just, for me, a therapeutic way to grieve.  I love you Miki.  I miss you so very much right now.  


June 24, 2020

Dearest Miki.

Yesterday I placed your hearing aids with someone I "met" on my Nextdoor Neighborhood blog when I asked for recommendations of organizations that accept used hearing aids and place them with needy people who cannot afford new ones. Apparently, they refurbish them, clean them and adjust, program and fit them to the appropriate new recipient.

Handing them over was really hard Miki.  They are so iconically you.  How many times was I with you when you would pop one out, dig a little battery out of your pocket, replace the spent one and pop the device back in your ear. I can see that event in my mind as clear as day. I wanted to keep them forever, to look at them, and to remember.  But I know that YOU would want them to help someone who can't afford to get tested and buy new expensive hearing devices.  SO. I put my big girl pants on and did the right thing. In your name. Because it's what you'd want me to do.  You made me a better person. But I have so many regrets. I needed you to hang around for another 20 years (G-DWILLIN') to fix me completely.  I am so flawed and had so much to still learn from you.  How I wish I'd been different. Kinder. More selfless. More giving.  But I wasn't and now you're gone and I can only learn from you via memories of how YOU lived and behaved. 

I wonder if you can "hear" me when I talk to you. I sure hope you can.  I would give anything to hear you again.  I copied all your voice messages on my phone into my itunes library.  I play them once in awhile just to hear your voice but it's quite painful..mixed bag. 

Donated to: Marion Downs Center in Denver https://www.mariondowns.com/

Like you, Marion was a professor too, but at a Medical University in Colorado. From her website: "Dr. Marion P. Downs was a Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Colorado School of Medicine where she spent more than 35 years providing clinical services to benefit patients with hearing loss, devoting her professional life to the promotion of early identification of hearing loss in newborns, infants, and young children. During her outstanding career at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Marion Downs created, developed and evaluated techniques for testing hearing in children and for fitting them, some as young as a few weeks of age, with hearing aids." 

I think you would approve Miki.  I miss you my friend. 


June 20, 2020

Three months ago today.  Friday March 20th. My friend was dying. At her own request.  Refusing further treatment and only asking for pain management.  After decades of fighting against the horrible disease that changed her life at the age of only 25 and caused her so much pain, discomfort and intrusion, she was succumbing to complications from surgery to remove a pancreatic tumor and piece together the remaining organs and tissues in her destroyed gut from so many other procedures from the previous nearly 50 years.  

She had a pain threshold that dwarfed mine so I can only imagine the level of pain she endured for those weeks following the 10 1/2 hour surgery that had been deemed successful. But the after effects. That's what had her scared from day one. And boy was she right. I've not witnessed anyone in that kind of pain before.  And she warned me about it. She told me I'd hate it. That I'd be shocked by it. That I should brace for it.  

On that day, I KNEW she was "dying", BUT I also knew that I would get to spend a whole day with her soon. Friday was going to be the day but she wanted to meet with her attorney and they had JUST changed the rules at the hospice hospital. When she was admitted just days before the rule was no more than 2 in her room at one time.  Then the next day - no more than one.  Then almost immediately, no more than one visitor in a 24 hour period.  Not one at a time...just one.  So Friday was to be Sarah's day.  Once she entered the hospital that morning to visit with Miki, she was going to be the ONLY visitor allowed for 24 hours. SHE could go and come back as many times as she wanted in that 24 hours, but nobody else would be allowed.  

I had spent almost an hour on the phone with Miki the day before reading her every single Caring Bridge comment made by all of her friends, family, students, and acquaintances. I heard her chuckle and awww and even interject some details about a memory that had been related.  I think it made her supremely happy to hear all of the words, sentiment, love poured out on this site.

I was looking forward to MY day.  And not knowing if I should selfishly hope for more or lovingly hope that her pain and suffering would soon be over.  To my horror, a late afternoon phone call telling me that we needed to get to the hospital NOW and that there was very little time is burned in my brain forever.  I understood the gravity of those words. I just wanted to see my friend alive one more time.

When we arrived she was still breathing. VERY measured and very shallowly.  We touched her. We held her hands. We told we loved her. We told he we would miss her forever.  She took only 3 or 4 of those breaths after we arrived and never opened her eyes - but she somehow held on so that we could see her alive one more time. We numbly went about gathering her things and giving the hospice nurse the information about which mortuary to call. And then we left to live lives without Miriam, (Miki) E. Felsenburg in it.  Not yet realizing the impact that would make and the toll it would take on our hearts. 

Today.  Three months later. I still talk to her.  Every day.  Some days I tell her how much I miss her and love her and wish I'd appreciated her more and spent even MORE time with her. Sometimes I ask "why didn't you tell me more about your amazing life and the impact you had on so many?"  And I know the answer. She was humble.  The great ones always are.  

With the warming days and continuing self isolation and covid fears I wonder what our summer would have been like had this event not happened.  Would we get to attend even one art fair this year? She would have needed to take MUCH stronger precautions with her compromised health so I know our lives would have been far different this summer than our summer of fun in 2019.  But she would have been here to talk to and play bridge with (online only) and share thoughts on whatever Netflix or Hulu or prime or Xfinity tv series we were into at the time.  She would tell me stories about Lily and Benny and send me pictures and I'd ooh and ahh and tell her I wanted to come over to see her and THEM!  And we'd figure a way to do it safely for her.  Their new mommy is so kind to send me such cute photos of them in their new life. It warms my heart and I'm so thankful for them and the stories of their antics. It's keeping Miki alive for me in some ways. 

So-3 months on - I'm not a lot better.  I'm missing her even more than I did at the beginning when there were details to handle and other people to soothe and inform and personal belongings to go through and arrangements to make and information to impart. Now, all of that is behind me.  And I have nothing but time to miss her through. 

Here's to you "Lois". The best "mom" I ever had.  My best friend.  I miss you so much and love you so dearly.  


June 1, 2020

Yesterday was another one of the "those" days.  All day you were on my mind.  So many times I have reached for my phone to call you and tell you something "very important" and then I remember.  I used to tell you that your voice mail greeting had a tone to it that made me somehow sad whenever I heard it. I actually said "Miki, if you ever die, (and you'd better not!) if I somehow hear that voice mail greeting, it will make me cry so hard, because there is SUCH a sweetness to it...the sound of your voice, the way it lilts up when you speak your name...it would be unbearable to hear it after you've died because it's almost too sweet to hear when you're here, alive, present in my life!". 

Yesterday I was missing you SO much that I stupidly dialed your number and almost hung up before it rolled over to voice mail.  (I wasn't even sure it was still connected because I thought Sarah would have disconnected it by now)...I heard that message and as predicted I was newly gutted by the missing of you. All the things I NEED to say to you.  All the things I WANT to share with you.  My eyes miss your face. My ears miss your laughter...my favorite part of any day was doing my own brand of improv for you and hearing you gasp laughing!  It made me want to be funnier for you.  

I hope you are NOT resting in peace...that would be the last thing you would want.  I hope your soul is soaring in simultaneous time...flitting from reality to reality, universe to universe, time line to time line, at YOUR behest, YOUR desire. I hope in death you are having the time of your life...and don't drift too far away because when it's my time, I want YOU to be the one who greets me on the LIGHT side of all this darkness.  

I miss you Miki.  My eyes still have so much ability to leak. I'd have thought that by now my reservoirs would have run dry, but that voicemail greeting. I am spending today figuring out how to copy it somehow to my phone so I can save it and have it forever.  Unlike you which I no longer have. 

"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone."


May 12, 2020

a few more photos of my beautiful friend in her prime.  Clear skin that would become so painful for her from so many prescription meds to combat Crohn's Disease diagnosed at the age of 25.  A disease that would permeate and plague her until her last breath...but one that never bested her...never. She fought it like a badass super hero warrior with more bravery than I have ever mustered. And even at the end, it was HER choice to exit.  She didn't succumb to Crohn's or Cancer. She graciously, bravely, and so gracefully simply took her leave.


April 22, 2020

Last one today - because I'm tired!  These are three special ones I think:


Lana Wood, (Natalie's Sister), Sally Field, (Gidget) and a photo of Miki IN the car with Peter Noone and "King George"! 


April 22, 2020

At the cemetery on Monday I was telling Jean and Fran about one of Miki's early assignments as a journalistic working for the teen magazine TEMPO.  I told them that an assignment she was given to pick up at the airport and spend a day with Peter Noone, Lead singer of the wildly popular, at that time, Herman's Hermits.  After that day and the ensuing article she wrote about it, her job became that of meeting artists coming to Colorado for performances, hanging out with them and writing about her experience for the magazine.  Today, I found the article.  Taking photos of old newspaper that is long and in a very big album that curves because of the bulk is not easy. I apologize for the quality. I believe the three photos will allow you to read the article without missing too many words. It reads DOWN the left and then down the right. So you'll have to look at each photo twice if you attempt to read the whole article...Well, you'll figure it out. You're friends of Miki's so I KNOW you're smart! 

I hope every one of you is safe and healthy.