Another Friend Gone-

Painting by the Late Great Vikki Burton
Sunday I went with my friend Carol to attend Vikki Burtons funeral. I figured I wouldn’t cry- it had been at least 10 years since I saw Vikki. The day before the service I got emotional as I pulled some photos I took of Vikki out of my attic. I figured that I pretty much had my emotions in check . The room where they held the service was standing room only. I didn’t recognize anyone there. I figure I hadn’t seen Vikki in a while, and these are all the people who had to watch her struggle with her addiction. These are the people who tried to help her, and the people who got high with her. Her Mom didn’t attend the funeral- perhaps it’s easier for her to believe most of these people were the problem, not the solution.
A photo slide show was shown first. Many of the photos on that show I took. Watching it was when my face first started to pinch up and my eyes burned with tears. I felt guilty standing there- crying- while people who had spent time with her just last week were still keeping it together. Then I noticed a giant photo poster of Vikki where her coffin would be. At the time I took that photo of her, I wanted so badly to be like her. She was so tough. I was raw and vulnerable and open to pain and drama- Vikki was always so much stronger and cooler than me.
How do you raise a drug addict? How is someone in so much pain for most of their life- she struggled with this for over 20 years- How does it take control of them to the point where they just leave this world? To see the room full of people who loved her so much, you can’t imagine that there wasn’t enough here to keep her tethered to this earth. Her mom sent a note to be read and it spoke of how intelligent Vikki was, how creative she was, how strong she was. That was the Vikki I knew. So with everything going for her, why did she have to get high?
It stands to reason that she got loaded “for fun” then.
When it wasn’t fun anymore it was too late and she was hooked.
Too late for “just say no”.
The last time I saw Vikki she was a beautiful, vivacious, tough cookie who I admired so much. I took many many photos of her because she was so gorgeous! So, I had no warning, no getting accustomed to her killing herself slowly. I only remember the Vikki who I wanted to trade places with.
I heard from other people that seeing the loaded and struggling Vikki was awful. I got to photograph the best of Vikki. I got to know the Vikki that loved life; it saddens me to have to accept that she is gone.

So Goodbye my dear friend Vikki. Beautiful, capable, sweet, strong, fun Vikki who had the world at her feet. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you- I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed to be saved.
When I knew you- you didn’t need anything more- you were amazing all by yourself.

R.I.P. my friend Vikki

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You made me cry for her again damn it. She was so good and you remembered her different and that was good and now I am feeling sad again. xx S