Last week I got the terrible news that one of my childhood friends had passed away. It was especially devastating because we had recently reconnected and planned on meeting up for drinks and a good long chat. Over the last few years we had become friends once again and much of our conversations revolved around art, particularly Vincent Van Gogh. We were both fascinated by his paintings and at least on some level related to his struggle with anxiety and depression.
This was one of the last paintings we'd analyzed. Vincent's Hospital at St. Remy
She was such a great friend. An old soul. She was real. Everything about her was real. We grew up on the south side of town, on the wrong side of the tracks, literally, and even though she could hang with the cool kids, she was Farley at heart. She moved easily among the various crowds because she liked anyone. If you were a good person, you had a chance with Raygan. She liked you because of your faults, not in spite of them. That’s a true friend. She saw your heart, she saw your struggle, and she could relate. The broken people were the most beautiful.
Intuition drives so much of my life and this event was no different. Wednesday was a particularly bad day, health wise. My blood pressure was running high, my heart rate was all over the place. I had the shakes. Just a bad day all the way until the end. The next morning, I woke up to a message from another childhood friend I’d recently connected with. She wanted me to call her as soon as I could. It was so hard to hear what she had to tell me. I cried so much that day. For my dear friend. For my class mates. For her mom and dad. For all the things we had planned to do together. She had asked me to paint hydrangeas for her. She said she loved her grandmother’s beautiful hydrangeas and wished to have a painting or two of them.
That next day I took my broken heart to my paints and found her in a canvas I had set aside a couple weeks back. It was an abstract painting I’d started with no other purpose than exploring. It hadn’t made any sense when I’d left it to dry and I’d almost completely forgotten it, but I picked it up last Friday and as I stared, I found a girl. Quickly I sketched in the shape of a face and soon after the rest of her took form. When I took a step back, I could see it. It was her. Raygan. Dancing around in a creek somewhere. She loved to be in nature. On one side it looked like a storm was blowing in, but the other side seemed bright and sunny. That was so Raygan to me. Thunderclouds and sunshine all rolled up into one.
I’m going to miss my friend.