‘My friend is dying’ maybe a strange title for a blog or an essay or anything else, but that’s what I found out last Friday morning. I’ve known it for as long as I have known her which is 5 years exactly, but now . . . . . now it’s more real.
It was a strange week, good, but strange. I’ve been editing and typing and helping my elderly father with chores while it has been cooler than 90 outside. Actually he watches and tells me what he wants done and I do the work. Usually ideas to write come to me but nothing was really coming to post as a blog last week. Well as spirit would have it, I didn’t have the right topic. Not yet at least. Recently I wrote about loss and grief, and this is more of that, but in a bigger picture kind of way.
When I talked with my friend that morning, she sounded good. We even had a few laughs along with tears. The pain was partially under control and she’s now in Hospice care. It brought back memories of the day I made the call to Hospice for my husband, Ken, whose cancer had returned and he had nothing left to fight with. My friend has nothing left to fight with either. The pain has become too great, the scar tissue to extensive, her body can’t heal from the damage it’s received. She has fought the good fight as people say.
She is dying of complications from prescription medications she was given. She did not abuse the meds or overdose on them. Her body reacted to them badly just a little bit all the time. They destroyed her muscles, her organs, her thinking, her speech, her very being. She is part of a very minuet percentage of people that react this way to these medications. She has been living with pain for much longer than I’ve known her and always seemed so strong. So brave.
She talked about her coming to peace with the process of dying. She was feeling peaceful. I understood completely. She knew I would, you see she was one of the many friends that were there for me as Ken was dying. She has been talking with friends and family when she has the strength and saying her good byes. She has everything taken care of that she can to make it easier for her family.
She would like to see me. We both know that might not happen. Not because I can’t or won’t drive the nearly 500 miles each way to go see her, I would jump into the car today if I could. It’s that I’m now caring for my father whose health is starting to worry me more each day. I’m concerned about being gone for very long if at all. She knows this and said that we will always be together. We will, we both know that. We are connected through spirit.
You see, she’s one of those friends that you meet and know you have known them forever. When you do see each other, it’s like you saw them just yesterday. We only saw each other a few times each year, when I traveled to the Portland area and once she was well enough to come see me on my farm, but we talked on the phone all the time when she was well enough to talk. I have a couple of friends like this. I feel blessed to have them in my life.
All I could tell my friend that morning is how much her friendship has meant to me. That she has made a difference in my life. That she has helped me grow. She said she feels the same way about me. We have helped each other in many hard times in the past several years and celebrated the joys too.
I think I’ll hold the memory of us sitting by the lake at a retreat two years ago as my favorite one, our feet in the warm sand, sun on our faces, children laughing as they played in the shallows of the swimming area, the smell of someone barbequing nearby. I’ll remember the beautiful flowered dress she had on with her beautiful smile and dancing eyes. The lake was as far as she could walk, that was okay. It was a glorious day just to sit on a log and talk.
As I have learned through the past couple of years, more than ever before, you need to see people whenever you can, tell them what they mean to you, tell them you love them, tell them they have made a difference in your life. Many times I have put that off, thinking I had more time, you never know what the next minute will bring. In a moment they could be gone or you could be gone, so do it now. Do it often. Tomorrow could be too late.
So dear friend, I know you can no longer see well enough to read this, but know you will be in my heart forever and until we meet again, I wish you love.
To all my friends that read this, you too are in my heart and have made a difference in my life. I wish you joy, and peace, and love.
I love you.