I Carry Your Heart with Me

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go)
– E.E. Cummings


March 3, 2009: my friend Nykoyen Ekpoudom passed away from a venous thromboembolism, a blood clot in major vein in her leg that broke loose and traveled to her lungs.  It was unheralded and lightning fast – she lost consciousness and fell walking out of her office building in Manhattan. She never woke up.
I never got to say goodbye.

2758_81508697560_3302354_n I can’t believe it’s been six years.

I think about her a lot.

It stuns me that she never got to meet one of the other most important people in my life; my husband, David. She would have approved and having her approval was a big deal.

She would have a lot to say about my current career ambiguity (probably unsolicited.)  She would want to know about the plan I should be working on.

Were she here, she would read every single blog that I write.  She would give thoughtful feedback.

She would covet my new black boots.

She was the kind of friend you just talked to.  About anything.  Goofy or funny or crazy or scary or serious. Good or bad.  And yeah, if you were being an idiot, you could count on Nyk to gently bring that to your attention, but in a “get your *#%^ together – you’re better than that” kind of way. 10400076_68006197560_4408826_n copy Friends serve so many roles in your life – each one is unique and has a different place in your heart.

Nyk was unabashedly my Partner-in-Crime.  We were “sisters from another mister” – almost always up to something. Flirting with some hot boy, crashing a happenin’ party and commanding the room; shopping for completely unnecessary footwear, tossing down a Cosmopolitan or two three.

Off on some crazy adventure in Texas or California or New York.

Sometimes, there was karaoke. 2758_81508712560_1429340_n She was an brilliant business woman, strategically on-point for a stellar international career. Her goal was to always honor her family and her heritage.  She wanted to bring change to her corner of the world.

She would have.

She liked to grab all her girls, weave through the crowds in whatever bar and dance like a dervish in front of the band. She had a thing for drummers.

She had a razor sharp brain, an appreciation for happiness and a deeply kind and generous nature.  She saw the best in people – their true potential. She possessed a rich and rare sense of humor.

2758_81518087560_4352294_n When she traveled, she always packed too many shoes.

She dazzled like a diamond in a sun beam, illuminating every room she walked into.

She would order the craziest combinations of food.  Baked plantains, pickles, french fries and sweet and sour meatballs.  Chili-covered “death” dogs, topped with peppers and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, drowned with diet coke.

She always had my back.

She was my friend.

My life moves on, skirting a Nkoyen-shaped hole in the world.

I miss her. nyk I carry her in my heart.



A good friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he was “over it all” and closing his account.

Maybe he was overwhelmed by people sending him Alien Cows from Farmville or wanting him to send them a submachine gun in Mafia Wars.  Maybe he was weary of friend requests from people from high school he wasn’t cool enough to be friends with then and is way too cool to be friends with now. Maybe he truly feels that Facebook is a kitschy, vainglorious and shallow replacement for actual telephone calls, emails and visits.

While I can appreciate the viewpoint that social media isolates us from real human interaction, there’s something very special to me the way Facebook allows us to step, gently and momentarily, into the life of someone we care about.  Someone who may be far away in both miles and years, just to share a memory, congratulate  an achievement, send an e-hug, make a snide remark, whatever.  For that second, in the ether, you are there with them.  And  they are right there with you.

We lead busy lives and unfortunately it’s far too easy to let people slip through the cracks.  Facebook and Twitter, while not the same as dinner and drinks, or voice-to-voice via Ma Skype, at least lets us stay connected and aware of each other.  Ten minutes a day on “Facecrack” and I’ve “liked” my sorority sister’s new puppy, “Woot!”ed my friend on her new car, sent a message of support to a colleague who lost a friend to cancer, and “found” a friend from college I’ve always wondered what happened to.  Maybe it is socialization for a new age, but the  interactions are real, as is the satisfaction and happiness I take from the exchange.

My friend decided not to close his Facebook account, btw. Moments after his declaration, he was inundated by posts of love and support.  He realized, I think, he was not only cutting off that easy access into the lives of his friends, but our access to his.

I love Facebook.  It’s reunited me with the people from my past who have shaped the person I am today.  Seeing them again, and sharing in their daily lives and accomplishments, even if only electronically, reminds me of the great times we’ve had and gives me courage for the future, knowing that I’m not alone, and a lifetime’s worth of people who love and believe in me is just an IM away.

I’ll take that in a heartbeat, even if it comes with an Alien Cow.