They’re just a pair of shoes. Bronze sandals with sparkly buckles. They’re comfortable and cute. But that’s not what sets them apart from my other shoes. Whenever I slip into them, I remember that I bought them in a little boutique in Sea Isle, New Jersey 2 years ago when shopping with Angel. We both bought a pair of upscale shoes. She said, “These are the only shoes that I can wear that are cute and comfortable!”
Her’s are still in her closet.
It’s just a big yellow yoga ball. Nothing special about it at all. Except that Angel gave it to me when I visited her a few years ago. She said she didn’t use it and I gave mine away when I moved into our condo and now needed one.
We lost Angel on April 17, 2019. Memories of Angel are everywhere. In my mind and in my living space – the sandals, the ball, photographs. Just as she had memories of me in her living space.
When I last visited her, shortly before she passed, I picked up a book that she was reading. Inscribed on the inside was my mother’s writing. My mom used to rate the books she read – Very Good, Keep this One, LOVED! When Angel came to help me get my house ready to move, she took some books home with her. Full circle. Her sister, Connie, said, “They’re just perfect for Angel to read. She can pick one up and put it down. Nothing heavy.” Those books will likely be passed on to someone else now. Someone who didn’t know Angel or me or my mom but will participate in the circle of life by a book shared.
I’ve had flashes of memories since Angel’s death. We used to walk everywhere together as kids- to Vogt pool in Philadelphia on Saturdays in the summer, to Mayfair, to her cousin Doreena’s house. We had an odd quirk that I pointed out to Angel. Whenever we came to turn a corner, we criss-crossed. Whoever was on the outside, was now on the inside. We did this unconsciously but regularly.
Other things I had forgotten about come to the forefront of my mind, while I lay trying to sleep. When we were kids, we visited the Patrick family friends, the Pody’s. They had a little girl, Chrissy, that we played with. One night we made up names for each of us from our first, middle and last name. Angel’s was Anamapa for Angela Marie Patrick. Chrissy’s was Chrisapapo and mine was Anjodi, for Angela Joanne DiCicco. We thought Chrissy’s was the best! So melodic! Angel would have loved to share that memory, “Oh, that’s right!” she would say.
We spent hours as kids riding bikes on the boardwalk together. Angel remembered the time one of us got very burnt from sunbathing on the beach. This was in the days before sunscreen. Was it me who was badly burned? And Angel sprayed Bactine on me. There is alcohol in Bactine and I went through the roof in pain! Or was it Angel who was burned and I put Bactine on her? The memory is fuzzy and there’s no one to ask.
I think that’s the hard part. Having these memories without the person you shared them with. It doesn’t take away the memories but the intimacy of sharing that particular memory with Angel is gone. I can share the story with others, but it’s not the same as being there the night we named each other, thinking we were so clever and it was so fun. Or laughing about it all these years later as we remember that night.
A slice of life. Each memory is a slice of life. Or a little sliver. Many of us shared a sliver or a huge slice of Angel’s life.
I love the way my friend, Marilyn, put it. Think of Angel as a diamond in the rough. Throughout her life, her diamond was honed, faceted until it shown brilliantly. Each of us who knew her was a facet in the beautiful diamond that was Angel. Without any one of us, her diamond may not have shown as brightly or been faceted the same way because each of us played a part in her life. She needed each of us to be who she was. We shared a part of Angel and while we influenced her, she was influencing us and honing our own diamond.
My life certainly was brighter with Angel in it. And her facet in my life will always shine brightly.