Friday, October 16, 2009

The Loss of a Friend

I have cried today until I cannot see. We were without Internet for two days due to some problem with one of our drives. Got it fixed this afternoon, started reading my usual email, blogs, newspapers and then about fell out of this chair. One of my few dear friends died Wednesday after suffering a massive stroke the previous Tuesday. Her husband didn't have our phone number and likely has been beside himself these last several days anyway.

Nancy was 68-years-old, a recovered alcoholic with the greatest wisdom I have ever encountered. She and her husband of 25 years raised two of her grandchildren when most others their ages were taking vacations, gambling at the casino or just enjoying a quiet house. She was well known for her bluntness, her kindness and her massive yard sales.

I recall years ago when a few people were gathered at a large table for pizza. Someone came in complaining about their kids, their husband, their job, etc. and just had herself worked into a tizzy. Nancy didn't say a word and soon the woman turned her attention to her. As if to say, "Did you not hear how horrible I feel today?" As the woman started to say something to her, Nancy said, "You can spit and sputter about it all you want. It doesn't change a damn thing. It didn't change anything last week, or last month or two months ago but you're still complaining."

It was as if the woman had cold water thrown on her face and suddenly woke up.

Nancy by no means had a glorious, accomplished past. On the contrary, having been an active alcoholic for years she could tell some real hum dingers about her escapades. But the neat thing about Nancy was she never let her past determine today's happiness or her future. When people gossiped about other's calamities, stupid stunts, strange behaviors, affairs, divorces, etc., Nancy simply said, "Aren't we all entertaining to someone, somewhere, sometime?"

She just had this look and this way of changing people's perspectives. And all she really did was sit there, look you straight in the face, and in an even voice say the most daring, truthful, insightful things about you or the situation. For the last couple days there have been a lot of Nancy stories going around and she's left a huge hole in the lives of those of us who loved her.

She had spent countless hours at the hospital these last couple years tending to her husband who endured three by passes, two heart attacks and two bouts with cancer. She worried constantly about his well being but it's her that has left.

I am stunned by her passing and angry - at myself - because she's been on my mind so much the last two weeks. Twice, we were within two blocks of her house and yet I didn't stop by or call. And later that day, I'd think about her again. God, I wish I had picked up the phone or stopped in to see her.

Never, ever, ignore those nudges.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that. True friends are so rare. I realize it breaks your heart and we can never make up for lost opportunities, but we can be glad for the times we had with them.

Anonymous said...

You can visit with her now. Her spirit is probably close to yours. Nothing ever dies; it just changes form. Sit quietly and you will feel her.

Mamma Bear said...

I'm very sorry about your friend.

Mayberry said...

That little voice in our heads is always trying to tell us sometething... We ignore it at our own peril. I'm so sorry for your friend, but you can rest easy that her suffering is done, and she's in a much better place now. Don't beat yourself up over it, what's done is done, and life goes on. YeOldFurt said it very well....

2 Tramps said...

We are so very sorry for you in the loss of your special friend. She sounds like she was a remarkable personality that will be thought of often by those that loved and miss her. Thank you for sharing your sadness so that we might all be reminded to follow our hearts...

Did it MY way said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Life is so short. They say you are rich if you have one true friend.

It has been said that everything has a reason....Perhaps it was time for her suffering to end.

God Bless

vlad said...

By Oscar Wilde

Tread lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.

All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.

Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.

Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone,
She is at rest.

Peace, Peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life's buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

Kymber said...

well if your post didn't send me into tears then Vlad's comment certainly did!!!

don't tear yourself up about not seeing her - you were feeling her for a reason - she was communicating with you!

and you did her right proud in this post!

and thanks for sharing so much! i have learned. and that is what sharing is really about. to teach. and i have honestly learned.

thank you.