When I first heard my dear friend Sybil was in hospice in February, I went to the page to process my emotions. The first thing I wrote was “How do you say goodbye to one of the only friends you could count on when you’re going through the biggest transition of your life?” I was preparing myself, hoping I’d be able to tell her goodbye on the phone. Sadly, I didn’t get that chance.
Two weeks to the day after she passed, I went to the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books at Arizona State University. After perusing the many new titles for sale, I left my partner browsing books in the festival tent. Something was pulling me to check out the rest of the festival. As an author, I was curious what else was offered.
I cruised perimeter. It’s a two-day writer’s heaven, with speakers, community resources, and writing groups in attendance. I made a mental note to attend at least one full day next year.
On my way back to my partner, I passed the indie author tent where I met Sandra Butler. The interaction I had with her touched my heart and I felt I met Sybil’s soul sister, an old Jewish queer. Sandra’s sassy title and her empathetic response finally gave me the framework for the piece I had been trying to write about our unconditional friendship. I’d also like to think Sybil had a hand in our synchronistic meeting.
So how do you say goodbye to a dear friend? By writing tribute to our friendship and the force of nature that she was. My essay was published May 1st on PrideSource.com and will appear in Between the Lines, Detroit Metro’s award-winning biweekly LGBTQ+ print publication on May 11th, 2023.
Thank you, Sybil Offen, for the gift of your unconditional friendship and being there when I needed you most these last 11 years