Today I learned that my best friend lost her soul mate (and my friend) from kidney disease. It was sudden and I don’t even know what else to think other than he’s in a better place now.
I knew Craig through my best heart friend Sherri, a beautiful soul I met while studying Thai Massage back in 2001. We bonded immediately through giggles and one could always find us in class, no matter how big or small. Just listen to the two women always giggling on their mats about anything and everything.
Years later, I would accompany Sherri and Craig during their first consultation at Cedars Sinai for Craig to get a new kidney. He’d been on dialysis for about ten years before then and they wanted me there as an objective ear as they visited with specialists about the whole process Craig was about to begin, one that would lower his antibody counts so he’d qualify for a new kidney.
It was bittersweet because the moment I had my son, I couldn’t be around Sherri and Craig because with his new kidney came so many challenges that included lung, heart and immunity problems. A little bug here, a little cold there from me and his health would be compromised. And so it’s been eight years since I’ve been able to be around them even though we tried to meet sans the kid many times. I’d either have a cold or I couldn’t find childcare for my little guy.
I did my best to keep up with them through Facebook and today, I read the news that Craig passed away and with him, a piece of my heart.
When I first wrote Everything She Ever Wanted, I wanted it to be a token of all the friendships I’d made through the years. Even though Dax and Harlow’s story seemed to focus on New Mexico, the story and issues it touched came from the friendships I made from the Philippines to California, from New Mexico to New York.
When readers asked me why there is so much detail about kidneys in what was supposed to be a genre romance novel, I’d tell them that my son was born with MCDK or Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney, “a condition that results from the malformation of the kidney during fetal development.” What I couldn’t tell them was that it really started with Sherri and Craig and the trust they gave me in sharing their journey. But I had no idea at that time whether they were okay with me sharing information about Craig’s condition.
I still don’t know if it’s okay, but I do know this: my friendship with them shaped the story of Harlow and Dax and the series of books that came after and will continue to come. It’s the only way I can honor all the friendships I’ve made with people like Sherri and Craig, Molly, Nikki, Sarah, Marcella, Laura, Eileen, and more even though, now and then, I have a tendency to disappear and go into myself to reflect while forgetting the world around me.
My world just got smaller today. But thanks to the friendships I’ve made, my world has also been made so much richer.
This morning, while cleaning out book and ad-related pictures that automatically downloaded to my husband’s phone app, I found this video which he took from this summer’s trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano. I’d been trying to catch the same bee but failed miserably, too afraid to bring my phone right above the water for fear that I’d drop it. But he has no fear, apparently, and he caught this moment, of a busy bee going about his business on a lotus flower.
Somehow I was meant to find it today of all days… so thank you and Namaste, Craig. May you soar with the eagles, my friend.