This is a place to celebrate the life of Polly Tolonen. A young woman who lived her life with beauty, grace, talent and boundless energy. May she continue to inspire us and live in our hearts and memories forever.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Frank, thank you for that video.

To be completely honest with you all, I've not cried for Polly since May. Its awful and I regret it. I guess it's easy to stay in denial of the truth from so far away.

I was jealous of what all of you had with her in CA. I was jealous of her new life, her new friends, her new interests. I was jealous that her new life no longer included me. Or coming home to Michigan. Or calling me. Or emailing me. Or writing me. Maybe I was mad at her for leaving. Maybe I was mad at her for forgetting me.

Maybe I was not the friend she needed me to be.

I didn't cry for something that I didn't have. Now, I find myself crying out six months -six years- of tears for something I know I won't ever have the chance for in the future.

I do miss her.

I miss the opportunity to continue that friendship that started so young and was supposed to last a lifetime.


Just me, Heid said...

Julie, we're all dealing with things the best way we know how - there's no right or wrong when it comes to grief. The fact that you and Polly weren't as close as you used to be should take nothing away from what you had. I know for a fact she still thought so much of your friendship and may have been a little 'jealous' herself since you were happily married and a mommy. Polly was the only person I know who always left the people she knew wanting more - we were all Polly hogs! In a final stroke of irony that's just how things will be left...with all of us wanting just a little more time with Polly.

lala said...

Heidi, I've said it before, you are a great writer. And Julie, thank you for being so honest, it was refreshing.

Chandra said...

Julie, your message really hit home with me. It's as if you just read my mind and I thank you for being able to communicate your feelings so well and in a way I have not been able to do.

I have been living with the same guilt that maybe I had failed at being the friend she needed me to be, or in my case, a friend at all.

I let our relationship lapse and I regret that so deeply. Sometimes I feel like I don't even deserve to grieve for a friendship I had not maintained and cherished like I should have. But, I miss her, too. Thanks again for your candor.

Mom said...

Jules, I know too, as Heidi does that Polly loved you and Chandra so very much. When she came to Michigan I remember how important it was to her to find your house in Manchester and spend time with you. I remember her driving away from my duplex with her scribbled directions in her hand, determined to find you and visit Stacy, a dear friend from her sorority who lived in Midland, I believe. (Stacy moved frequently in those days.) The trouble with Polly's time on her visits to Michigan was that she couldn't be here long, or she'd miss too many days of work to be able to pay her bills when she returned. Then her time was divided between Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, then divided again between family and friends in both locations, that she was very limited to whom and how long she could spend her time. It was never enough. Jenn Connell was the luckiest of all of us, I used to think because she fell in love with Southern California, and determined several years ago that she would ultimately join Polly there. The sadness for Jenn was also that she had been there teaching music for only 2 years when this horrific tragedy slapped us all in our collective face. Jenn visited California many times during the years before she finished at EMU too, the advantage of being single, working hard and choosing to spend her savings on trips to see Pol. Jenn broke my heart when she told me she had tickets to an Alicia Keys concert at the Hollywood Bowl to surprise Polly with for her 34th birthday. She hadn't told Polly yet. I know many people's birthdays seem to fall near the day they die. I don't know what that's about. For me it was just another slice of pain in my heart. I know how important you are (I use the current tense on purpose) to Polly. You two were best friends FIRST and when we moved and Polly's school was across town, you continued to be. You even took your Dad's address and changed schools too! It was very important to her what was going on with you, Richard and Ryan Claire!! She just got so busy, so many irons in the fire, that her time with us...all of us was limited. Her friends in LA probably would agree that even though they saw her more frequently, the time she shared with them was limited as well. Lindsay got every Tuesday for dinner, lucky her, but that also was limited, but because of Polly's schedule theirs ended much too quickly so Polly could rush off to her improv class. I know voicemails didn't get returned for a long time, sometimes not at all, but I promise you it never meant she didn't love you, or want to return them (mine too), only that her life was so crammed with other "stuff". Maybe some part of her knew she didn't have much time, so she tried to fit as much as possible in...I don't know. I am positive that her first best friend is still her best friend. When your Mom and Robert called you "Beaver" because you wanted to carry a brown bag lunch like Polly did, was special. She loved that you were called "Beaver" and why. She loved going to see "Elf" with you, Ryan Claire and Richard one of the Christmases she visited. She wanted to be a Mom some day. She is a wonderful Aunt (real and Honorary with her friends' children). She told me the rescue dog she and Frank took in (which still lives with Frank) was "practice". "We'll see how we do with a puppy first." One of the most amazing things that proved how much she meant to you was when her
Grandma Tolonen died. She and Frank were just ending their visit here, had their tickets to fly back. Then she had to extend her return date and send Frank back alone. There you were at the funeral Home for her! For us all, really. Stacy who at that time was in Whitmore Lake came to the visitation the night before. You had to have read it in the paper, because none of us were thinking straight enough to call either of you. Polly knew you loved her, Jules, and she loved you. NEVER doubt that! After Polly's service, many of my friends (some I hadn't seen in 41 years, some I'd made in the past 10 years, and many in between) told me how nice the service was, how much love was felt in the sanctuary at Calvary United Methodist Church, and how much Polly was like me! I was flattered of course, and began to think of what kind of friend and person I am. I also am like her in not getting back to my voicemails and friends, either. I mention that, because it occurs to me you are probably thinking you're not important to me because I haven't gotten back to you about getting together after you get off work. Nothing could be further from the truth! You, Julie Wilson Harrison are and always have been very very important to me. I'm sorry we haven't planned a date yet. I'll call you this week! Love, Mary Beth

Chris Tolonen said...


It was nice to see you at Calvery in Ann Arbor but, of course we all wish it was under different circumstances. Seeing you brought back a lot of great memories of you and Polly, together. Thank you for being her friend!