Only Memories Remain

Snow and Archana

And then on one of the most beautiful fall mornings I woke up to the news that my longest friend in Fairbanks had passed away. The night before I had been watching the super moon. The super moon that I really wasn’t that impressed by. I had been thinking that I owed her a text. Last time I texted her was in July. We used to do that, text each other every now and then. Never talk, only text. I would always text her a bunch of pictures from Alaska, because I knew she missed it, especially the summertime. She got cancer a while back. We had talked about it, how she felt like something was wrong but then never really did go to the doctor until it was maybe a little too late, or maybe it wouldn’t have mattered. We talked about how expensive it was, her visit there. I guess that might also have been one of the reasons why she didn’t really go in the first place, who knows. They charged her for the minutes she was in a room getting changed. We were so angry about that. And she ended up writing a letter saying she couldn’t pay. In one of the last texts we exchanged I asked her when she was coming back to Fairbanks. Her reply was: “Will be long before I come back to Fairbanks. Hoping for end of summer…” Already then it made me wonder what that meant. And I guess I kind of prepared for never seeing her again.

I went out running on the trails, the trails we walked on together before. Picking blueberries and cranberries, or enjoying the sun in early spring. I saw a fox, one bull moose and a female moose and lots of cranes and a little baby squirrel. I have never seen so many animals in one morning before. It was cold and frosty but the sun was on the way up. I tried not to think about it, but that was hard. I thought about that time a couple of summers ago when we were walking to the store. It was one of those hot summer days. All these yellow butterflies were laying on the road, the same ones I see in the watershed too. For some reason I collected some of the wings this summer, from those yellow butterflies in the field this year. They were already dead but the wings are so beautiful. I never quite figured out why they congregate like that, but a lot of them get killed, by cars or bikes or just by people not looking where they step. She took one of them up and put it on her shoulder. And then we walked to the store and got our groceries, and then back home again. The butterfly stayed put as far as I remember. We talked about how I would go there, to India and go hiking with her. She would show me all her awesome places she knew about.

Somehow the one thing that got stuck in my head after hearing about her was a stupid love letter someone wrote for someone else in the movie Country Strong. But I felt that it was fitting for the time. “Waylon said it best when he sang to Willie: If you see me getting smaller, I’m leaving don’t be grieving. Just gotta get away from here. If you see me getting smaller, don’t worry I’m in no hurry. I’ve got the right to leave”


I like the music video below, because Willie Nelson and Hank Williams sang it (a lot of others did too of course). The performer below is Kristian Gidlund, he was a drummer for a Swedish band. He too died of cancer and talked about the fact that he knew he was gonna die, also probably before he turned 30, just like Hank Williams did but of other reasons.. Kristian died just a couple of days short from turning 30 and before this program was aired.

I will miss Archana a lot.

Posted on September 10, 2014 and filed under Alaska, The great wide open.