Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A friendship, full of mystery and hope

A package arrived today from my friend Jane.

Before June, I hadn't seen Jane in five years. We talk periodically, but like many people who live thousands of miles apart, our lives are not as intertwined as those who who see each other regularly. Despite this, I think of Jane regularly and warmly. When I lived in Rhode Island, Jane was a friend, boss and mentor. She is one of those people who never reminds you how much more they know or suggests that you are in any way not completely compelling. Even when I have not talked to her for months I routinely see a movie or read a book and think immediately that I need to share it with Jane.

In the five years since I moved back to the west coast, Jane has sent me several thoughtful gifts. One of my favorites is an oversize shopping bag made of red floral oilcloth. She has also sent me more sentimental gifts, including the milagros that sit on my personal shrine. Somehow her gifts and notes seem perfectly timed. Today, the day I got my plan for my 4th round of invitro fertilization, a package arrived from Jane. This gift was exactly what I needed, as the official start of another attempt at pregnancy was more emotionally charged than I had expected.

Box from Jane (cropped) 

Inside the mailer was a small box, tarted up with sparkles, fabric roses and what looks for all the world like red fishnet stockings. The box was filled with the sweetest of hand-picked treasures, each one perfect and beautiful. Jane's gift made me cry with the happiness of someone so well loved by her friends. Ada helped me open the gift. With the seriousness of a 3 year old, she picked up and examined each item. She did not understand the meaning of the gift, but as a collector and appreciator of all manner of small objects, she knew its value.

Inside the box

In her card, Jane wrote that she made the box, "full of mystery and hope", for my embryos. She quoted a Salvatore Quasimodo poem that had made her think of my embryos:
everyone stands alone
on the heart of the earth
transfixed by a sun-ray
and suddenly its evening
She signs off by writing: So here's to their life, whatever that may be. With much love, Jane.

I love Jane for so many reasons. Today, because she is such a kind and thoughtful friend. Her note introduced me to a new poet. And even if she did not know it, her timing was perfect. The box is a reminder of how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life, people who care for me and love me no matter what our circumstances. The box may be aimed at my ovaries, but it also points at my heart. Seeing it will help me focus on the mystery and hope in my life, any help with that is an amazing gift.

Thank you, Jane.


  1. What a tableau

    The gift beyond compare and your relation too intimate. The circle you make of you and Ada and Jane. Ada's seriousness, as you say, so resonant of the intense, ageless, powerless (gentle?) knowing and unknowing on these cusps of beings.

    Sending all the blessings for you on this way ahead. Grasping for an emoticon.

  2. Friends that cool are rare. I'm jealous . . .

  3. oh, this is a gift indeed.

    i have a dear friend waiting for transfer...the strength and patience is amazing.

  4. That's just beautiful, and one of the most thoughtful gestures I've ever heard.

  5. How beautiful! (The box and the friendship.)

  6. That's just lovely and wonderful, and I'm glad Ada was there to share it with you. We love you guys.

  7. What a wonderful gift from a precious friend! Best of luck to you and your embryos.

  8. Oh, wow. Friends like that are diamonds in the rough, aren't they?

  9. this made me smile and feel all warm inside.

  10. What a wonderful friend, and what a wonderful gift.