If felt like the longest day of my life, I kept pushing the thoughts aside and continued to focus on working, not crying, not thinking of anything just getting through the job without anyone knowing inside I was falling apart. I didn’t get any sleep the night before, at 2AM I got the call saying she was missing, and the voice at the end of the line asking when had I seen her last and when had I last talked to her. I sent out a bunch of emails, read her FB page and started trying to put a time line together. I laid in bed all night praying that this was all a mistake, that in the morning everything would be ok, that life would return to normal. After 2 restless hours of sleep I awakened at 6AM, showered and was out the door. We were in Chattanooga a little after noon, grabbed a quick lunch and then the first call came in. The police were headed over to where she was staying to see if she might be there, I had a sinking feeling, knew I needed to stay focused on work no matter how upset I felt and began trying to focus on anything I could to keep my mind off of what was actually happening. Ten minutes before we arrived at the location for the shoot the call came in, I listened as my friend struggled to say what I had feared, in a sobbing thin voice she said Dina had passed. I remember saying in a steady strong voice with no emotion “thank you for letting me know, I will call you later I have to go to work”. We stopped a minute later for directions, as I sat in the car and watched Tamara talking to the woman in front of the car I felt a sick sinking feeling in my stomach. I watched their lips moving not hearing a thing but was strangely aware of how pretty the sunlight looked on their shoulders, how good the crisp air felt from the recent flash of fall like weather. It was as if I were in a weird dream and everything was happening in slow motion, in silence…I was numb.
The day felt like the longest day of my life, I was quiet, focused and stayed busy. My phone was ringing off the hook, text messages, voice mail, call after call….I put it in the car and stayed focused on work. I would grab it and glance at the list of calls and messages, my Dad had called so I quickly returned his call, his voice was crackling, he had read my earlier FB post about a missing persons report on my friend, he was worried about me, I told him I was ok, I was working and needed to go, I would call him tomorrow and I loved him. Back to work…more than 26 phone calls, 12 text messages, some multiple from the same person and I couldn’t bring myself to listen to one because I had to stay focused. We arrived back in Nashville, I helped unload the gear, said thank you I was glad I had spent the day working, hugged my friend and got in my car. It was as if the second the door closed a water fall of tears appeared, one minute I was gasping for air the other I was hitting my hand against the steering wheel saying NO this is not real, this is not fair. When I got home I listened to all of my calls from the day, they began with what is going on, we are worried about you, please call or text back, at a point the messages shifted to I am so sorry, please call I am worried, and more than 8 calls ended in I love you. I have been on a crusade the past rear to speak from the word of LOVE and while in this day of grief I was reminded of the love for both my friend and for myself, each time someone would say that word at the end of their message I would cry and then I would say I “I love you Dina”.
Friday September 16 was a difficult day, because it marks the day I heard the news that my wonderful friend Dina had passed away. She was a beautiful person, she always had a smile on her face and was always looking for the next adventure. She would light up a room when she walked in, she was compassionate and admired by everyone. She was that person who no matter what time of day or night, no matter what you were dealing with or what you needed, she would be there if you needed her, never ever expecting anything in return. If you had a dream Dina was the first to tell you what she thought you could do to make it happen. She supported all of her friends and found joy helping others achieve their dreams, it was as if her dream was to see all of her friends dreams come true. If you were a singer, a writer, a chef, an artist or anything for that matter she would be out there acting as your rep spreading the word. I met her in 2008 at a party that one of my kayaking groups was having, I was trying to get past loosing my ex boyfriend who had recently passed away and we immediately became close friends, not long after I met her, she lost her mother and was gone for a while in New Orleans dealing with the details. I feel fortunate to have had Dina in my life as a great friend. Our circle of friends expanded and it brought so much joy to us both. We talked about life, about death, about men and about purpose. When I started ReTune Nashville she was the first person to jump on board ready to get out and start helping people any way she could. She inspired me because she was always so happy, so motivated and so positive about every thing she was involved in. She was that friend that you could call anytime to go do something fun or to just hang out. She loved to cook and she loved to help people. It is so hard to believe she is gone, she was my age, she appeared to be healthy and she seemed genuinely happy with life as a whole.
It has been over a month now and I am still having a hard time with all of this, sometimes in life things are so difficult to understand. Each time I loose someone close I re-evaluate but this time it feels deeper, I have really felt lost, not sure of what I want anymore, what I want to do with my time or even what direction I want to take from this point forward. My life feels so empty, so lonely…single, self employed and wondering what next, what can I do to make my life feel fullfilled. I know if Dina were here she would say, “get over it it’s time to make something happen, use your talent and make a difference in your life and other’s.” She always had a way of calling you out, and telling you to stop making excuses. I constantly need that kick in the butt especially now because I feel stuck, frustrated and irritated. I have forced myself to be sociable on occasion but felt more like hiding away by myself. I miss my family, I have thought more about their health, their age and how much time do I have left with them. I hate that I am so far away but I do love where I am. I suppose this is all a part of the grieving process. I wonder WHY a lot….when I feel like I have finally found a balance it seems like there is something that always kicks me backwards a few steps. I believe that all these “LIFE” things are a constant reminder to me of what is important. Life is simple, the people around me are a gift that I must appreciate while they are here and loving one another is the key to happiness. So where do I go from here…I will do all I can to be the best person I can be, I will put one foot in front of the other and take baby steps forward, I will pray regularly and see where I am taken next. I really don’t care so much about my direction anymore as long as there is laughter, love and happiness. The one thing I am sure of is that offering what ever I have to give of myself to others, expressing myself and being kind through love is what makes me happy. While I am a little off kilter at the moment missing my friend and re-thinking my life I know in time I will eventually get back to a better place. Sending love out to you all…please do me a favor and pass it on!