Phoebe - One Year
A year ago today I lost one of the greatest loves of my life. Phoebe Search was bright, hilarious, deeply sensitive, and stubbornly joyful. She loved to sing at the top of her lungs, preferably for an audience. She loved adventure and mischief and philosophy and psychology and pop culture and garbage TV and smut. God, she loved smut. In delightful contrast, she was her best around children, and loved all of them, including her own, with the special ferocity of a mother who cherishes every fart and runny nose. She wanted nothing more than to shelter and protect their innocence from all the hardest parts of life.
She’d seen more than her fair share. She knew loss and rejection and horrors I wish no soul ever had to endure. People she loved sometimes brutally hurt her. Physical and mental anguish were familiar guests in her body. But she was also a powerful force for survival and flourishing against the odds. She survived all kinds of suffering to live and laugh and dress up for another night on the town.
It was so easy to adore her. People she barely knew sometimes unabashedly loved her. She held sparkles and space for all kinds. She could forgive and comfort and boost people in ways that still inspire me. She left behind a huge village of fans and family and friends that miss her tremendously. So many of us work to honor her legacy of love and joy.
I could go on a long time about all of her accomplishments and loves, but I’m going to keep this a bit more personal. I’m going to try to name, more specifically, what I miss most about her. It’s simple, really: her easy laughter, her sharp intelligence, and her love. I miss the reassurance she offered that I was ever worthy of unconditional love. That even at my worst, I was precious to her. Honestly, I told her shit that would curl your teeth. Dark thoughts. Selfish needs. Twisted fantasies. We whined and bitched and gossiped and plotted all sorts of awful crap together. And she never batted an eye. She joined me in all of it and then we’d laugh or cry it all off and be free of it. I can’t tell you the number of times I called her because my feelings had been hurt, only to have her counter any insult with lavish praise and righteous rage on my behalf. I did the same for her. She was on my side and I was on hers. And even when I thought she was being an idiot, or knew I was, I could count on us to hold each other through it. That’s rare. To be that free with someone without fear of judgment. It’s a gift.
Doubts creep in now that she’s gone. If she knew how I really and truly thought or acted back then, or now, would she still love me? Am I doing enough to honor her memory? Did I do enough to save or help or shelter her while she was still here? Did I disappoint her? Could she ever have possibly known how much I loved her?
I’m trying to trust that she’s with me, a year later. That she always will be. I’m trying to believe that it was all real and that every moment with her is emblazoned on my being. I’m trying to feel her love. But I’d be lying if I said it comes easy. It doesn’t. I miss her. I want the reassurance. I want her hand in mine and her voice telling me to shut up and sit down so she can lecture me on love. I want to trust that we did the best we could and that our love lives on. Most of the time, I just ache when I think of her.
But I do know one thing for certain, and that seems to be a kind of reassurance of its own: I’d do it all again. The best and worst and everything in between. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.