Twenty minutes before hair and makeup were supposed to arrive at my apartment, and one hour before the fashion team, prop stylists and photographers were set to buzz from below, I got the call.
Someone I loved - very much - had died. He was sick, ALS, and it was time. But that didn’t mean my heart wasn’t ripped out and torn apart.
Immediately, I started to cry thick, hard unstoppable tears. I’m sure everyone I grew up with cried thick, hard, unstoppable tears that morning too.
As more calls came in about wakes and funerals and other awful things, I realized that I had not yet showered for the big group of stylish people who were coming over to make me beautiful.
I hadn’t swept my floors, picked up the Perrier, baked a banana bread, or prepped myself at all for the reporter who went on a limb and made this magazine article come alive for me.
Sweaty and shaky, I didn’t know what the fuck to do. But I chose to pull it together. That felt most responsible.
The make-up artist was first to arrive. She was especially kind, given my red and puffy eyes. The rest of the team strolled in and I filled them in on my morning, trying not to sound too morbid. I might have been repeating myself … he always believed in me … I don’t remember.
Late in the night, the photo-shoot wrapped.
It was gorgeous, and, I think, glamorous, and I tried my very best to look and feel the part. Somehow I cooked a good dinner. There were smiles, flashes, and high fives. Everyone got what they needed.
But I wasn’t quite myself.
I attempted to make a toast - rich, witty words I had imagined myself saying - but my voice shook so bad that I sat back down.
Forgot to do and say and cook and bake half the things I dreamed of in anticipation of this article, which I’d orchestrated in my head every single night for the last few months.
Though, I think it all went fine.
Yesterday was the funeral for my dear friend who was a hero to me and my family for so many reasons. During one of the exquisite eulogies delivered at the church, someone reminded the hundred of mourners of this beautiful man’s favorite quote:
“Courage is grace under pressure.”
In his memory and honor, those words will continue to guide me through life and love, friendship and fortune, and maybe even hair and makeup.