Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | January 29, 2011

Remembering Gabe

This is not a sad post. This is not a sad day. But it is bittersweet.

Those of you who have read this blog going back a year will remember my friend Gabrielle. I first mentioned her in this post (I Light This Candle for Gabe), where I explained how we met and who she was to me. We had known for some time that Gabe was in trouble; she’d been diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, and the survival rates are not good. Still, she had many factors in her favor, and there was reason to hope she might beat it.

I took a risk by posting about her. By bringing her into my blog, I was exposing more of my “real life” than I felt entirely comfortable doing. Up until that point, I’d only referenced places I’d lived previously as [city] or [University], and mentioned the people in my life by description or pseudonym. Never by real name. But while I had begun this blog as a place to sort out my thoughts about my deteriorating marriage and collapsing financial house o’ cards, the fact was Gabe’s worsening health weighed heavily on my mind. And something that is not always clear on these break-up blogs or parenting blogs or singles blogs is that we have much more going on in our lives than just that one aspect. I needed to sort out what was happening to my friend, and what it meant to me. And so, I started to tell the story.

Then a few days later, I saw what turned out to be her final performance at the Austin Poetry Slam on YouTube, and I knew I had to share it, even though her full name appeared in the video. I couldn’t not post it. The message sang to me. It was what I needed to hear, at a time that I so very much-needed to hear it. At the risk of jeopardizing my online anonymity, I posted the video (Gabe Asks: What are you waiting for?). I’m also going to post it below, because you need to see it. Even if you’ve seen it before, you need to be reminded. We all do.

Although I had been in touch with her after her diagnosis, I had refrained from calling because I didn’t want to intrude on her space while she was working on healing. But on this day last year, I finally gave in and decided to call her (One last call…). Her friend answered the phone. Gabe was not doing well. I asked her to let Gabe know I called. That I was thinking about her.

And then, a few hours later, Gabe died.

Gabe was a dear friend, and I know she felt the same about me. Her death did hit me hard, surprisingly hard, and the truth is: it still does. But while I’m sad at her passing, I also rejoice at her having been in my life. She was one of those people who made the world better just by being in it. She was a candle to help light the world, and even though she’s now gone… the light remains. Her light is, in fact, getting brighter, and that’s because we who were (are) her friends choose to share it, and extend it. We choose to light more candles.

So on this day, rather than weep for her loss, I choose to light another candle and help to brighten the light. (Well, okay… I’ll do both.)

Gabe’s final public performance was a call to arms. Please spend a few moments with my friend. It is my honor to share her with you.

Gabrielle Bouliane, July 24, 1966 – January 29, 2010

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Responses

  1. whew. powerful. thinking of you today.

  2. beautiful…and I can’t believe it’s been a year. I remember that video you posted so distinctly because it touched me too. Her words were amazing. She’ll live on forever in memory.

  3. I think I told you about losing a very good friend of mine when I was 20. It’s been 16 years and I still miss him — often. Losing a friend is never an easy thing. Thank you for sharing Gabe with us. 🙂

    **hugs**

  4. Damn, this chokes me up every time I watch it. In a good way, though. 🙂

    I’m glad you’re remembering her today… she deserves that, and so do you. 🙂

    Sending lots of love your way!

  5. […] up on my blog-reading at the airport and over the weekend, I read INRIS‘ latest post, on the passing of his dear friend Gabe, and as he reposted her last poetry slam […]

  6. It is hard to believe that was a year ago… So much has changed.

  7. Chills and goosebumps still. We have a lot to learn from her. And I still think the best way to honor her is to be the best we can be, without excuses and hesitation. I’m willing to give it my best this year.

    Big hugs!

  8. wow. thank you for posting this. truly moving.

  9. Wow. That’s very moving, very powerful. It gave me goosebumps.


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